Ladies and gentlefunk of the Jackverse, it’s time for a bit of a blog hop! If you’re not sure what that is, I’ll hip you to the gist. It’s a pass the baton blog post-athon where one author fires up a daisy chain and the next picks it up. Rinse, wash, repeat. This particular tour is fun, because it focuses on the writing process — and we all love a good process! Read on to get a peek beyond the veil.
First, I have to acknowledge the writer that tagged me for this blog. She’s none other than the super fantastic Claire C. Riley. A fellow apocalyptic author who writes with killer style and doses her work with ample smexy.
And now…on with the show.
1) What am I working on?
I am what I like to call a chain writer. The second I finish one book, I’m on to the next. No sooner did I type The End on my first YA novel, Among You, did I start penning the third installment of my cult-fav, Shero. This particular entry in the series is called Shero III: Death by Cosplay. If you don’t know what cosplay is, you’re in for a treat.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I like to think of my work as an epic song. I try to make sure my words flow with a sense of rhythm and motion. I don’t like to allow the banal to enter into play and I tend to use a level of humor in every book — no matter how dark the subject matter. I feel, as human beings, we all desperately cling to humor to help us get through life’s comedy and tragedy.
I’m also write without a net. Some call that “pantsing” (or writing by the seat of the pants). For me, the term “pantsing” has a totally different connotation that always wound up with some unfortunate, unsuspecting victim sans pants…in a crowd…blushing towards a deep shade of blood red.
I distracted myself. Back on target.
I used to write with a very strict outline. Once I started writing apocalyptic fiction, I realized the world needed to be deeply entrenched in chaos. To that end, I opted to just let my imagination take me where the story needed to go. It worked out so wel, I adopted it as a permanent writing style. Now I find my process to be much more organic and it allows for me to enjoy the story as if I am reading it for the first time.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I have been a fan of horror since childhood. Horror is a much needed escape for me — on many levels. It’s cathartic and comfortable, while at the same time a vessel for change. Of course, horror isn’t the only genre I write within. I mentioned Shero earlier…that series is very important to me in that it celebrates a cross section of society that often winds up persecuted, victimized, feared, and hated.
One very important element of my writing is acceptance and equality. One of the reasons Bethany Nitshimi is the driving force behind the I Zombie series is because I felt like women were too often getting the short end of the stick in the apocalypse. So, I decided to buck the stereotypes and create an intelligent and strong protagonist that could serve to pull humanity toward survival.
I generally write what I’m passionate about…and I’m passionate about a lot of things. Does that water down my canon? On the contrary, I believe by constantly stretching myself, I not only improve my craft, but improve the stories and characters I can offer to readers. There are a lot of exciting things exploding from my gray matter. I hope you are as excited as I am about the possibilities.
4) How does your writing process work?
It’s very simple — I begin with a thread of an idea and let it grow in whatever direction it desires. I allow the story to unfold before me and live in precisely the way it wants. I tend to write most of my fiction at night, with only the glow of my Chromebook Pixel glaring back at me. I find the darkness and silence to be a soothing balm and the perfect environment for writing the dark fantastic.
Once I get the first draft done, I start writing the next book immediately. After a few days on the next book, I go back and re-read the first — checking for continuity and out of place words. I also re-tool and re-craft sentences to make them sexier and better roll around and from the tongue. Once I finished my second pass, I send the book out to beta readers. I know it’s a bit off the traditional route, but I want the beta readers to get their hands on a rougher cut of the story — so they know it’s a safer environment to critique. Plus, it’s less work for my editor. After I go through the notes from the beta readers (and either implement or disregard their notes), I send the book on to my editor. After he and I do our back and forth dance, I send the book off to a proof reader who finds those little demons and troublemakers everyone else missed.
Sidebar: Speaking of ‘beta readers’, I’m always looking for new betas. If you’re interested, and passionate about reading, send me an email and let me know.
While the book is in the hands of the proofer, I create the cover, blurb, and other material. When I get the book back from the proofer, I use Calibre to format the book and then I upload the file to be published.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
You will be treated to the delight that is Mike Cooley. Writer, guitarist, and all around incredible guy. Check out Mike’s site, before his post, and get to know this Zombie-King Approved chap!