Category Archives: Interviews

OWS Ink Presents: David Wiley

We are excited to announce the debut of David Wiley’s novella, his first solo manuscript, which is on schedule for release this coming Friday, April 28. We are so excited in fact, we will be celebrating with a release party on Facebook April 28-29. Come join in the fun and win some great books to add to your collection!

The purpose of this post today is to dangle some teasers about David and his story in front of you. Let’s begin, shall we?

Title: A Merchant in Oria
Genre: High Fantasy
Release Date: April 28, 2017

Blurb:

Firion is a young merchant descended from generations of merchants. His first big break comes along when he sets out to trade with the wealthy dwarven kingdom of Oria. He has always dreamed of visiting this grand kingdom, having heard his father describe it in detail a hundred times while he was younger. But when Firion arrives in Oria, he is jarred by the details present that contradict with the image etched into his mind. Something dark and sinister seems to be afoot in Oria, but Firion knows he is no hero. He is just a simple merchant, and what can an ordinary person do in the face of danger and deception?

Meet David:

My name is David Wiley and I love to read and write. Growing up I always could be found with my nose in a book, graduating from Dr. Seuss to Goosebumps to Redwall and then into the broad realms of Science Fiction and Fantasy. As the years have progressed I have gained a love, in particular, for the works of Tolkien and for Medieval literature such as Beowulf. Books will undoubtedly remain a piece of who I am until the day I die.Writing, on the other hand, has an on-again, off-again relationship with me. I go through streaks of intensive writing and thoroughly enjoy those times. I go through equally-intensive stretches where I struggle to string together a few paragraphs because my interest gets pulled in other directions. But, like Tolkien, I am a sub-creator at heart and love to tell stories and imagine characters and worlds and my hope remains that, one day, something I write will capture the imagination of a reader and transport them to a world they have fallen in love with.

You can find me/follow me at the following locations:

Check out my website/blog.
Like my Facebook Author Page
Follow me on Twitter
Follow my author page on Goodreads
And check out my author page on Amazon, where you can find ways to purchase my writing.

Q: If you could meet any one person, who would it be and why?
DW: If that person could be anyone throughout history, I would love to meet J.R.R. Tolkien because he has been my biggest influence and inspiration as a writer and as a scholar. Not only would it be fun to meet the man who created Middle-Earth and helped shape the genre of fantasy as we know it, but it would also be fun to sit down and discuss the Anglo-Saxons and Beowulf and other great works from the Medieval time period. If I had to choose one person who is currently living, that is a bit harder. I think that I would have to choose Brandon Sanderson, just to find out how he manages to write out so many great books in such a short span of time.
Q: Why writing? What drove you to pursue it as more than a closed hobby?

DW: I am a storyteller at heart. A lifetime of vivid imagination, immersion in fantasy worlds, and playing of Role-Playing games all fueled this passion within me. While I struggle at times to fit my style into more conventional standards, I still enjoy letting my imagination run wild and hope that any readers come to appreciate that in my writing. And really, the reason why I pursue it is with the hope that some reader, somewhere, if able to enjoy being transported to different worlds and experiences that they might never get to have in their mundane lives.
Q: You get stuck on a deserted island, what do you take with you? You can pick three things.

Clothing, the TARDIS, and the 10th Doctor. I won’t be stranded on that island for long, but rather would be heading on adventures through all of time and space. Probably starting with a visit to J.R.R. Tolkien!
Q: Where do you get the ideas for your writing from?

DW: There is a small wardrobe in my imagination that I must walk through backwards while reciting an incantation in Old English. That transports me to a??large cavern??where a golden dragon sits atop a horde of story ideas. I sneak into there, careful not to wake the dragon, and snag an idea and then sprint back to the portal that will return me back to my own world. Satisfactory answer? ????
Honestly, I’ve always had an imagination for the whimsical and fantastic, probably because I grew up reading books, watching fantasy movies, and playing RPGs.
Q: How do you relax?
DW: My wife and I play a lot of board games. Not the ones you grew up with like Scrabble, Monopoly, or any of those. But epic games like War of the Ring (based on the Lord of the Rings books), Agricola, Small World, and many others. It has become my favorite hobby, perhaps something I have started to enjoy even more than reading because it gives me interaction with my wife and, as he gets older, my son. We’re that strange couple who rarely watches television because we’d rather play games together.

Enjoy this excerpt:

The door opened and a stout dwarf stood in the door frame. Thick black hair hung below his shoulders and his beard dangled over his belly. Muscles bulged beneath a beige cloth tunic and calloused hands clenched into meaty fists. Firion stammered slightly, squirming under the intense glare of the dwarf.

???Um, excuse me sir?????? Firion said. Before he could continue, the dwarf slammed a fist into his jaw and sent him toppling backwards onto the soot-covered ground. Tiny clouds of grey-black mist swirled with the bursts of wind created upon his impact and he fought back the urge to sneeze.

???I???m not a sir,??? the dwarf said, spitting on him before she slammed the door shut.

Firion laid on his back in a cloud of soot, rubbing his jaw to ease the pain. He had always assumed the rumors of dwarven women looking like men were false, but his aching jaw provided compelling evidence that it had, in fact, been a woman he had upset. He wondered how long it took to get used to the idea of kissing a woman with a full beard. Muttering a curse, he pulled himself to his feet, dusting the soot off his clothes and skin as best as he could. There was no choice but to continue farther down the road…

You’ll have to buy the book to read the rest???OR???join in our event!

Before you go, please take a moment to support David’s release through our Thunderclap and Headtalker campaigns. Help us tell the world about Firion and his Oria adventures!

Author Renee Scattergood

Name: Renee Scattergood
Latest Release: Shadow Stalker Part 3 (Episodes 13 – 18)
Genre: Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Email: reneescatts@gmail.com

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy, and she???d dabbling with paranormal thrillers under a pen name.

She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God’s Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her homeschooled daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 ??? 6): http://reneescattergood.com

CONNECT: Website | Author Spotlight | Amazon | Smashwords | Bookbub | Goodreads | Renee’s Shadow Stalkers

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn | Pinterest

  1. How long have you been writing?

I???ve been writing since about the mid 1990???s, but I only began publishing my work in 2014.

  1. What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Basically, I write whatever I???m in the mood to write. I???ve been trying flash fiction. I enjoy writing short stories as well. I???ve got a couple novellas I???ve written, and I???m working on two different novel series. One is a dark fantasy, and the other is a paranormal thriller I???m going to publish under a pen name.

  1. What are your goals as a writer, both small and large?

My more immediate goal is to meet other writers to network with, and find new readers. Long term I???m hoping to be able to support my family financially with my writing. My goals aren???t too lofty. I tend to be a realist.

  1. What inspires you?

It really doesn???t take much to inspire me. I???ve had an overactive imagination since I was a kid. Writing is an outlet for that.

  1. Have you ever fallen in love with a character? Tell us about this romance.

I wouldn???t say I???ve fallen in love. I do get attached to some of my characters though. Cali, from my Shadow Stalker serial is one of those. She isn???t a main character, but I loved her personality and no nonsense attitude. Killing her was the hardest thing I???d ever done. I cried for a few days over that.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I homeschool my ASD/ADHD daughter, so I have to write whenever I have an opportunity. I try to find time to write every day. Some days I don???t get a chance, but I make up for it on other days when I have a writing spree. I usually write when my daughter is preoccupied with other things. It???s not as hard as it used to be when she was younger.

  1. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

I???d say it???s a combination of the two. I generally start with the characters, but I only come up with basics for them so they can develop naturally throughout the story. I do the same with the story itself. I work out the overall plot and the scenes, and I write a really detailed outline, but I try to let the story write itself at the same time. I often have to rework the outline to adapt to things that just happen. I take notes as I write to keep track of things that develop in regards to the characters, storyline and world building so I don???t end up with inconsistencies.

  1. Who would play you in your life story?

Wow. Good question. I???ve never thought about this before. Maybe Carrie Fisher in her younger years. When I was a kid, everyone told me I looked like Princess Leia. ????

(Editor’s Note: This interview was submitted before the passing of Carrie Fisher.)

  1. What projects are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I???m finishing up my Shadow Stalker series. I just completed Episode 18 and now I???m working on Part 4, which is Episodes 19 – 24. There???s also the two novel series I???m working on. The dark fantasy one is, A God???s Deception, and the paranormal thriller is called, The Rise and Fall of Draven Clan.

  1. What process did you go through to get your work published?

I self-publish using Smashwords, Amazon Kindle, and Draft 2 Digital. Eventually I???d like to use Ingram Spark for print. Publishing is the easy part for me. I have a good editor now and cover designer. The hard part is the marketing and finding time to write and edit.

  1. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

The hardest part, as I mentioned above, is finding the time. I also have Hashimoto???s Disease, which often causes my brain to go foggy. It???s hard to focus on writing during those times, but I try my best even when my brain and body don???t want to do anything.

  1. What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.

I just love getting all the stuff that???s in my head onto the screen (or paper if I happen to be using a notebook). If I don???t write for a while I get overwhelmed and depressed. So to maintain my sanity, I need to write often.

My favorite episode of Shadow Stalker to write was Episode 8. It???s the episode where Makari and Auren start to realize their love for one another.

  1. If you could have any fictional character(s), living or dead, on your survival team after an apocalypse, who would you choose and why?

Probably Sicarius from The Emperor???s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker. With all his skills, you could survive anything in his company, though I???m not sure I???d like the food he prepares.

  1. Which actors would you choose to play the main characters in your story?

I actually wrote an entire post on this on my blog. It might be easier to share that: http://reneescattergood.com/who-id-cast-if-shadow-stalker-were-a-movie/

But as far as the main characters, I picked Maisie Williams for Auren, Gerard Butler for Kado, and Nathan Kress for Makari.

  1. What is your favorite escape from day to day living?

Writing ????

  1. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?

Mainly, I focus on promoting my free book, Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6) on social media and wherever else there is free promotion for free books. If people like that one, they can also get Part 2 (Episodes 7 – 12) free for signing up to my newsletter (I promote this at the end of Part 1). After that I use the newsletter to promote other books and stories that I release. Aside from that I try to do as many guest posts and interviews on others blogs and collect as many reviews as I can. It really doesn???t take much of my time. I also like to network with other authors (especially other indies), so we can all help each other out. It seems to be working well for me so far. ????

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?

I love the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. He really inspired me to start writing novels (he makes it look so easy). And Lindsay Buroker is a very successful indie author. She shares how she has found her success on her blog, and the information she shares has really helped me over the last couple of years.

  1. Do you know the secret to originality in writing? Would you share it?

I don???t know if there is any secret. I think it???s different for everyone, but it really comes down to following your passion really. At least it did for me. I love fantasy, but I didn???t want to write what everyone else was writing. At first it was difficult coming up with how I would make my stories unique, but eventually I decided to focus on my interest in shamanism. I???ve incorporated that knowledge into my stories while also using futuristic type technology. The idea of mixing shamanism with technology was a bit of a challenge, but it seems to be working out better than I imagined.

#Networking with other #authors works really well for me. @ReneeScatts #marketing #writerslife #interview??? Click To Tweet
  1. What are you currently reading???

I read about 2 to 4 books a week, so by the time you share this interview is shared with your readers, I will probably have read several books. I guess it???s easier to just say I tend to find free books from indie authors. If I like their work, I buy their other books to read as well. I tend to stick with fantasy and its many subgenres, but sometimes I cross over into other genres if the story???s description catches my attention.

  1. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

I think digital will become the primary way of reading, but I???m not sure that print will disappear any time soon. I prefer digital for many reasons (even though I love print books). The top most reasons being that it???s better for the environment and with my physical limitations, holding a tablet to read is much easier than holding a book.

Thank you for your time and the interview! We are so excited to get to know you this way. We wish you long success with all your writings!

Author Shakyra Dunn

Name: Shakyra Dunn
Latest Release: The One Left Behind: Magic (Book 1)
Genre: Fantasy; YA
Email: shakyradunn.author@yahoo.com

Shakyra Dunn can’t stray away from the impression that there is always an adventure around every corner! When she isn???t playing the role of the Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town. Read Reviews done by Shakyra here.

CONNECT: Facebook | Twitter | Website

 

  1. How long have you been writing?

-I have been writing since I was about seven years old, and funny enough, I mostly started off with fanfiction before I knew what fanfiction was! When I turned fourteen and started high school, I went back through these older travesties and decided ???Hey, I???m probably a lot better now, I think I???ll try again.??? In total, I???ve been writing with the mindset of an author for eight years now!

  1. What kind(s) of writing do you do?

-I try to write whatever I can, but I gear towards fantasy novels and short stories. I???ve also been dabbling in psychological and supernatural stories lately.

  1. What are your goals as a writer, both small and large?

-My goal as a writer has always been to inspire someone else to follow their dreams. As a child, my original goal was medicine, but writing was a talent I had always possessed. As previously stated, when I was a teenager, I looked back at my old works and decided to try again. Plain to say, my mother wasn???t happy when I decided that I wanted to be a writer. But after convincing her, I took the plunge into this messy and amazing field. Through that strive and goal, I feel that no matter what stands before you, you shouldn???t abandon your dreams at any cost. It makes it all worthwhile.

  1. What inspires you?

-I take inspiration from a lot of different places, but I???d have to say that my biggest inspirations come from my experiences. I always try to implement a part of myself in every story that I create.

  1. Have you ever fallen in love with a character? Tell us about this romance.

-Ummm, this is going to be a fun topic??? *Giggles* Well, fictional characters that AREN???T mine, I???m madly in love with Zack Fair from Final Fantasy VII. I could make a list on the reasons why, but plain to say??? after playing Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII at age sixteen, I was so inspired by his struggle, and his cheerful personality throughout his entire saga. That, and Tetsuya Nomura makes a lot of insanely unrealistically attractive guys, and Zack is definitely one of them. And that game is still one of the only ones to this day that I have played that will never fail to tear out my heartstrings, rearrange them, and then put them in backwards.

-Characters that ARE mine, I???m not certain that I have romantic feelings for any of them, but of all of the characters that I have created, my biggest support in a potential relationship has to go to Relek Paladere. He???s very calm, not nearly as sensitive as his best friend Frayle, but there???s more about him that you???d want to know as you get to understand him. And that???s what makes him so appealing to other people.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

-I work the graveyard shift, so sometimes it???s hard to try and find the time to write, but a majority of the time I try to have a plan of when to write. I also spend my days off filling in the blanks of what I don???t have established yet.

  1. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

-I try to combine both logic and intuition, depending on the situation that I???m in. Usually my writing process these days begins with the voice of a character in my mind, and I jot down whatever spawns. I always have had the habit of creating my characters before the plot, and establishing where they fit into it all. Once the characters have a home, I find that I plan the plot and the sequence of events long before the writing can begin.

  1. Who would play you in your life story?

-Ooh, that???s an interesting question. I???ve never actually considered that. Maybe??? Camren Bicondova? Her hair is about as curly as mine is.

  1. What projects are you working on at the moment?

-I???m currently planning out a story called ???FML: The Final Lesson.??? I???m thinking that it could be the start of a new saga of stories once Left Behind reaches its end.

  1. What process did you go through to get your work published?

-I self-published, so I didn???t have much trouble, but I did go into it pretty blind. The One Left Behind is my first published work, and with what information I had, I haven???t had much success as a whole, but now that I???ve gotten more research and assistance under my belt, I feel more prepared for what steps I can take for marketing my second book!

  1. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

-I would say the hardest part is keeping focus on my stories. I sometimes struggle with my thought process, especially if I???m writing from scratch.

#writing begins with the voice of a #character in my mind. #interview #author #writerslife??? Click To Tweet
  1. What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.

-The One Left Behind IS my favorite work; I put a lot of heart into crafting this series, and to this day, it is some of my best work. I think what I enjoyed most about creating it, and about writing in general, is giving my characters a voice. I strive for character development in everything that I create, and it is definitely my strongest asset in my work next to dialogue.

  1. If you could have any fictional character(s), living or dead, on your survival team after an apocalypse, who would you choose and why?

-Probably Master Chief from Halo. He could survive any apocalypse on his own.

  1. Which actors would you choose to play the main characters in your story?

I???ve always thought that ???The One Left Behind??? should be an animated series instead of a movie. I???ve had SOME thoughts for main characters on what I could imagine for a voice cast, and some that I really can???t think up.

-Frayle, for instance, is a hard voice to come up with. He has this slight Irish accent that paves the way whenever he???s nervous or angry, otherwise it???s well hidden, so I don???t know who could pull that off.

-Nova is a serious character in the first novel, even a bit bitchy to say the least, but she???s also regal in some aspects. The first voice I thought up for her, especially after playing Tales of Zestiria, would be Alexis Tipton. She did a phenomenal job as Alisha despite Alisha being kind of pushed to the back-burner as a character, and her role stood out so well.

-Relek, I imagine him to have a younger voice despite him being the more mature half of his duo with Frayle, and I???d have to pass that type of characterization to Michael Johnston, who, funny enough, was also in Tales of Zestiria as Mikleo and has an upcoming role as Ephemera in Kingdom Hearts 2.8, the X story.

-Recca, pretty easy to think of. Maybe it???s just the affinity of fire that he carries, but I ALWAYS hear him with a Travis Willingham tone. Particularly the easygoing voice that Travis can portray, because Recca is rarely ever angry, and kind of strays from the hotheaded type.

-Then there???s other major supporting characters like Curova and Freiya. Curova, I picture a sort of Justin Charles Cowden voice. It???s not too mature, and it seems to blend flawlessly with Curova???s very stoic and almost belittling nature.

  1. What is your favorite escape from day to day living?

-My favorite escape besides writing is definitely being able to curl up with a good book and listen to music. It???s always nice to drown things out.

  1. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?

-It???s actually difficult to promote your work with a slim following, and it???s even harder to make sales when not a lot of people really know about your book, even when you work with others, send off free e-books, etc. This is a part of why I think that self-publishing the way that I did was more damaging than useful, and it really does eat up a lot of time.

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?

-My biggest inspiration for getting me into writing is Lemony Snicket. It might sound silly, but when I was nine years old and read ???A Series of Unfortunate Events,??? I practically devoured each book until the series came to an end when I was thirteen. It wasn???t long after that that I wanted to pursue writing for myself. I also loved reading J.D Salinger???s ???Catcher in the Rye??? in high school–it is to this day one of my favorite novels.

  1. Do you know the secret to originality in writing? Would you share it?

-The secret to originality in writing is that there IS no originality in writing. There is always something that will relate to a component of another story. It is just a matter of making these components your own and weaving the threads to your own will.

  1. What are you currently reading???

-I???m currently reading Carmine Warrior Queen by Alan Janney to prepare for a review of it. I am also reading Adelle Yeung???s ???The Cycle of the Six Moons: An Eclipsing Autumn??? to prepare for ???The Last Winter Moon??? coming out next month!

  1. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

-It???s hard to tell. There???s ever-changing works when we enter this field. We just have to be prepared.

Thank you for your interview today! We wish you success in all your future writing endeavors.

Songwriter Kate MacLean

Our Write Side meets authors from all flavors of life. Today, meet Kate MacLean, a songwriter and poet from Canada.

Click play and listen while you read:??https://katemaclean.bandcamp.com/track/east


Name:
Kate MacLean
Latest Release: North/East/South/West, June 2015
Genre: Singer-Songwriter
Email: kmaclean@live.com

Kate MacLean is an uprooted Maritime singer-songwriter, now living in Toronto, Ontario. She released her first album, ‘North/East/South/West’ in 2015. When not performing her own material, she can be found working as a music teacher and as a sideman for several other artists in the city. Kate’s love of songwriting is matched only by her love of salt and vinegar chips, sour candy, baseball, and other things that will surely destroy her teeth before age 30. Her debut album can be heard here: https://katemaclean.bandcamp.com/album/north-east-south-west, and you can keep up with her whereabouts & general ramblings here: http://katemaclean.tumblr.com/

  1. How long have you been writing?

I’ve probably only been writing songs for the last 10 years. I remember an especially melancholic day when I was maybe 15 or so, and I took some sad-sack rhymes and minor chords, put ’em together and ended up feeling a lot better after the fact. I think that’s when the songwriting started! In terms of just general creative writing, my first ‘masterpiece’ was written when I was in grade two ??? it was a sprawling, 45 page epic entitled ‘Help! I’m trapped in Final Fantasy VIII!’. I had written my entire class into it by the end of the story, and my writing has been influenced by people around me ever since!

  1. What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Primarily songwriting and poetry, but every now and then I like to dip my toe into the world of prose. I participated in National Novel Writing Month back in 2014, and I have a comedic novella I hack away at every now and then for kicks!

  1. Why did you choose that particular field or genre?

I was surrounded by music when I was growing up ??? my father is a piano player, and my mom sings and plays bass. Songwriting felt like a very natural way for me to express things, or to tell a story. I love songwriting because it offers so many opportunities for connection. Even if someone isn’t listening to the lyrics, there can still be something in the melody, the singer’s voice or the chord progression that can resonate with them somehow.

  1. What inspires you?

Oh, everything! Is that a cop-out answer? All the usual stuff: love, loss, hopes, dreams, events, anxieties, a good story, feelings, etc… but also the UNusual stuff! I’m currently working on a song about baseball, and another one about Junior Mints. I was once inspired by a short story that my buddy Tyler wrote about a potato that appeared to have a face. His name was Peaburt, the outlaw potato! (The silly song that came from that can be found here: http://www.omichinski.com/blog-1/2015/6/30/peaburt, along with the original story, here: http://www.omichinski.com/blog-1/2015/6/30/the-ballad-of-peaburt-potato!)

  1. Where did your love of songwriting come from?

I alluded to my musical upbringing earlier, and part of that involved being surrounded by really, really good songs. I remember my dad coming home late at night and sitting down to play some tunes (much to the chagrin of my very patient mother, who had to get up for work in a few hours), things like ‘Desperado’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’. I still have those melodies attached to memories in my head, and that’s a pretty powerful thing!

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

Songwriting will often happen when I’m supposed to be doing something else…I’m lucky to have a pretty good musical memory, which means that when I come up with stray one-liners while riding my bike, or stumble upon a cool chord progression when learning songs for a gig, they’ll usually stick in the ol’ cranium for a while. Setting aside writing time, however, is a challenge. Like most creatives, I work 7 days a week, trying to pay the bills and keeping my head above water what with teaching, gigging, recording, and, more often than I’d like to admit, dedicated writing time gets pushed aside. During the summer months, I try to write at least a little something (a hook, a stanza, anything really!) every morning.

  1. How do you come up with your song lyrics? Is there a particular source of inspiration that works for you?

It depends on the type of song, and whether or not it is a commissioned piece. For commissioned pieces, the subject material usually comes from the client, and I’ll manufacture inspiration from there! For my own singer-songwriter stuff, I’ll come up with lyrics, as I previously mentioned, based on just about anything. I was a pretty intense bookworm as a kid (and to a certain extent, still am!), so I think narrative and story is very important to me. One of my favourite tunes on the N/E/S/W record is called ‘Beekeepers’, and I came up with those lyrics after imagining a character torn between her dream job at an apiary, and her unfortunately anaphylactic lover. (Beekeepers can be heard here: https://katemaclean.bandcamp.com/track/beekeepers)

  1. How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

Oh, you know ??? a series of increasingly poor choices? I’m just kidding. When I was 18, I moved from the very small town of Alma, Nova Scotia to the biggest city in Canada ??? Toronto! Talk about some culture shock. I got my degree in Contemporary Music Performance from Humber College, and then stuck around in the city because I already had a job and some steady gigs coming in.

  1. What projects are you working on at the moment?

Right now I’m finishing up the school year with my teaching job, and getting geared up for festival season with a couple of artists. In addition to that, I’m working away at the follow-up to my 2015 album, the dreaded ‘sophomore album’, which I’ll be calling ‘Feelings, etc.’. I’m also working on a fun passion project covering the songs of local songwriters from Toronto and some from back home in Nova Scotia.

  1. ??What process did you go through to get your work published?

Hoo boy! Blood, sweat, tears and self-publication. In order to press an album as an independent artist, there’s a few steps. 1. Write the songs. This is the easy part! 2. Record the songs. Call in a bunch of favours from instrumentalists you trust, and spend endless hours overanalyzing vocal takes in your basement. 3. Mix and Master the album ??? this is arguably the most important step, as good/bad mixing can make or break a record. 4. Commission artwork, find a graphic designer, pick fonts and layout. Then, finally, you 5. Press the darn thing! Find a printing company you can work with/afford. Choose the option you want, be it physical or digital copies, and then 6. Hope you can sell enough to break even. In addition to this, we have a really great organization in Canada called SOCAN which helps out with royalties. So at some point you have to become a SOCAN member as well!

  1. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

What a fantastic question! I’m going to have to say CONSISTENCY. Consistency, being prolific, and trying to silence my inner editor. I am so envious of the people who can sit down every day and end up writing song after song. I find I can barely make it through a couple of lines before the inner editor pipes up with doubts and criticisms. The ‘write now, edit later’ concept is very hard for me, and it’s a skill I’m still working on.

  1. What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.

That moment when you can find the perfect, simple line that still conveys so much. I love that. I also really enjoy hearing that other people get out of my writing ??? somethings their interpretations are totally different than what I intended, and that can be both enlightening and entertaining. My favourite work… hmm, that changes from day to day, but if I had to choose one, probably this song called ‘West’. (https://katemaclean.bandcamp.com/track/west) I had one of those ‘A-ha!’ moments with this one, where everything I wanted to express was coming out eloquently, but simple. A line that I find myself repeating from that tune sometimes is ‘That’s the thing about endings, they let you be free’ – I felt I was able to sum up a lot in that one sentence, reflecting the sentiments of the song, and moreover, the album!

  1. What is the biggest thing people THINK they know about songwriting, that isn’t true?

I think there’s this perception that to be a good songwriter, you have to be a real tortured soul, you know? Sure, it helps ??? but I don’t think it’s necessarily true. I’m much more productive when I’m on a peak, even if I’m writing about a valley. Another perception is that touring is a huge party! A non-stop bender, if you will! Though the occasional bender is pretty unavoidable, if you’re on a longer haul, you need to preserve some energy and keep it together. I find that 85% of time spent on tours consists of either a) driving or b) waiting around!

  1. What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about songwriting, that they should?

Remember that process I described earlier, where I listed the steps for making an album? Every single artist will go through that to craft a song that most of their audience will end up streaming for free, or basically pennies. It’s a lot of hard work, and if you like an artist, try to support them by going out to a show, or paying for their merchandise. It’s nice to know people care!

  1. For those interested in exploring songwriting where should they start?

Oh, wonderful! I love this question. Start by listening to EVERYTHING. Explore the structure and composition of song ??? listen, and learn about the parts of a piece: chorus, verse, prechorus, bridge, intros, outros, etc. If you’re not proficient on an instrument, but want to be a songwriter, I would suggest trying to get some basic skills down (piano/guitar tend to be the most common instruments, but heck, if writing on a harp is your thing, do that!), or find someone who IS proficient to write with. Go to local shows. Talk to singers/instrumentalists and songwriters. Decide what you think makes a good song, but be willing to listen to what other people think makes a good song! Take a couple lessons. Most importantly, just write. Be open to whatever comes to you, and enjoy it! It’s definitely not all Eureka moments, but it’s a really great way to express yourself.

  1. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?

Honestly, I don’t promote my writing enough. My skills lie in the creative zone, and like a lot of creatives I get really shy when it comes to business or promotion. The best way to promote your songs, is, of course, to play gigs. This definitely adds to my writing, as getting a chance to road??test tunes and get feedback from a crowd is very valuable.

The best way to #promote your #songs is to play gigs. #author #interview #songwriting #writerslife??? Click To Tweet
  1. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?

Jessica Grant, who wrote ‘Come, Thou Tortoise’ (my favourite novel!) did a great job with the unreliable narrator concept. In a way, I think all my songs are told by an unreliable narrator…it’s me! And I am, of course, completely biased. Barbara Kingsolver ??? the way she writes is so beautiful. I liked ‘Prodigal Summer’ so much that I wrote a song about it! (Can be heard here: https://katemaclean.bandcamp.com/track/prodigal-summer) Michael Odaatje, Dave Eggers, Terry Fallis and of course, Bill Watterson.

  1. What makes your writing stand out from the crowd?

The self-deprecating (depre-Kate-ing? Just a little pun there for levity, folks) artist in me wants to say ‘Nothing! I’m just another gal, singing about her feelings…’ And though that???s true, I like to believe there’s something charming, or at least candid, about my writing. I write songs that are undeniably person, but have a familiar feeling behind them that other can relate to. I want someone to hear one of my songs and find something to chuckle at in it, but also hear the tune and go ‘Yeah! I’ve been there! I’ve felt that!’.

  1. What are you currently reading???

I just finished reading ‘How we are Hungry’, a collection of short stories by Dave Eggers. Good read!

  1. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

Hmm! I may be the wrong person to ask about that as I have never read an e-book, still use a paper calendar and write longhand. I think the future is bright ??? different, for sure, but bright. A fantastic Canadian songwriter named Hawksley Workman says ‘We will still need a song’, and I think the same can be said about stories. I think there’s always going to be a universal need for stories, so we’ll always need reading/writing in some way, shape or form.

Thank you for you time and answering our questions! Congratulations on your music!

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