Wednesday, 16 March 2016


Claire Needell is a graduate of Brown’s MFA Program, a middle school teacher, and the author of two books of poetry. Her non´Čüction has appeared in The New York Times Sunday Review. Her debut novel The Word for Yes is a moving look at date rape and its aftermath.

You have chosen an important topic— Date Rape— to write your debut novel. Congratulations. Tell the readers about your journey.
I began thinking about The Word for Yes as a book about sisters and how different our paths can be, even when we start our journey in the same family.  Because date rape was prevalent in my teenaged years, I thought that this would be a resonant story today.  I also felt it was important to tell this story in a way that didn’t make it all too tidy, too easy for the reader to demonize the boy.  We know he has committed a rape, but we also see what his thinking was at the time, and how what he yearned for was actually a consensual relationship.  We tend to think that “boys are just after one thing.”  In fact, you can be pursuing something quite humane in an entirely inhumane manner.
Did you find out something about your creative process while writing the novel The Word for Yes, which you didn’t know earlier?  
I learned a lot while writing The Word for Yes.  I wrote a draft very quickly, put it away, and then wrote a series of short stories, which became the collections, Nothing Real, also published by HarperCollins. I learned a lot about how a story is shaped by cutting some material and adding other scenes.  This was critical since the book contains so many different perspectives. I also saw how writing and then leaving the book for a time helped me see the work more clearly.  I sometimes write very quickly, so I get the shape of a story, but then I need to work on each scene, each turning point, quite a lot.  My first drafts tend to be sketches, really, that require added dimension.
When did writing flow the best? 
Writing flows best for me early in the process.  As the book develops, the work becomes very precise, so naturally there’s a lot of small additions and deletions that seem to carry a great deal of weight.
When does your creative muse seen NOT to work?  
I tend to work a lot less in the summer, when the kids are around and there’s no regular schedule.
When do you feel freshest and most original as a writer? 
Hmmm.  I guess I feel most authentic when I am totally inside a character’s head.  I never think am I being original? I think more like am I capturing the sorts of very particular things people say and do?  If I think about what I am doing as a writer that is a black hole.  I think about what the other people are doing—the characters—at least as I am writing, then of course, when I edit I try to be ruthlessly honest with myself about what works and what doesn’t.  An editor once told me that you should always find the line or paragraph that you feel the best about and delete it, because that’s probably the least convincing thing you’ve written.  I find this to be true a lot of the time—it’s like when we think we’ve been really amusing at a party, but everyone else thought we were totally obnoxious.
What was the best day of your life as a writer? 
Wow. I suppose it’s a pretty great feeling to know you have a publishing contract, but I think actually the days I have been the most excited are the days the writing goes well.  Every time I figure out how to fix a problem is a great day.  Every day I feel playful and honest is a great day!

Related Post:
Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and an author. 
Follow her on Twitter @KirtidaGautam  

Wednesday, 9 March 2016



Best selling author Beth Yarnall writes romantic suspense, mysteries, and the occasional hilarious Tweets. A storyteller since her playground days, Beth remembers her friends asking her to make up stories of how the person 'died' in the slumber party games Light as a Feather, stiff as a Board, so it's little wonder she prefers writing stories in which people meet unfortunate ends. 
Thanks Beth for taking out time for this interview.

What is your subjective definition of a Hybrid Author?
An author who actively publishes with a publisher and self publishes.
Did you first walk the traditional route or Indie route on your journey as an author?
I had one foot on the traditional path in 2012 when I fought for the rights back to my first novel from my publisher less than a year from its release. My agent shopped that book and we got an offer, but after talking it over my agent suggested I self publish it. In early 2014 my second book came out with a publisher and later that year I self published that first book. Since then I’ve self published a total of 4 novels and 2 novellas and traditionally published 4 novels and 3 novellas. I’ve also self-published 3 audio books.
Can you state three advantages of being an Indie author?
I make all of the decisions, I control my release schedule, and I decide length, format, and how those books are marketed and sold.
Can you state three advantages of being a traditional author?

With traditional publishing I can tap into a ready made audience of readers who like books that are similar to mine, I don’t have to pay any of the costs of publishing such as cover design, editing, reviews, and promotion, and I feel as though I have a partner helping me to make those books a success.
Can you state three disadvantage of being an Indie author?
I have to come up with all up front costs, not all freelance professionals are reliable, and I have to try to find my audience on my own.
Can you state three disadvantage of being a traditional author?
The publisher takes a cut, I don’t have as much control (although I have to say that my publishers have been very open to my suggestions, including allowing me to put chapters of their books in a free sampler to help push sales), and I don’t get to control when my books release and in what format.
Do you think Hybrid Authorship is a win-win and best-of-both-the-worlds situation for everyone involved? Kindly elaborate your reasons.

For me, at this time in my career—yes. That may not be the case for everyone and it may not be the case a year or two or five from now. My publishers have been willing to work with me and have put some of my suggestions for my books into practice. I can control my release schedule by self-publishing books between publisher releases. I can write under a pen name. My publisher contracts don’t have the typical clauses that inhibit some traditional only authors. I feel very lucky to be where I am and I love writing books for my publishers and for myself.
Can you state three advantages that a literary agent and traditional publishing house get when they work with a Hybrid Author?
Interesting question. Both my agent and my publishers have told me that they’ve learned from me, which was surprising to me. I think they get a savvier author, one who sees beyond this book or this series. I look at my career as a long road and make decisions based on that attitude. I like to think it makes me someone others want to work with.
What is the opinion of your literary agent about your Indie work?

Courtney Miller-Callihan has no problem with it and has, in 3 different cases, suggested I self publish work that she previously shopped. She knows I publish under two different names. She doesn’t take a cut of my self-published work. There are agents who insist on taking 15% of self-published work and the author has to get their permission before self-publishing a book. I would never work with an agent who takes a percentage of my self-published work and tries to control when and how I publish.
Do you think Hybrid Authorship is the future of publishing industry? Kindly elaborate your answer.
For now it’s my future. I try to steer clear of the ‘my way is the right way’ attitude authors on all sides sometimes take. Hybrid publishing isn’t for everyone. Not everyone can write fast enough to feed two beasts. Not everyone can keep up with the demands and scheduling. Not everyone wants to. I think it’s important that we be supportive of our fellow authors no matter what path they choose and I feel fortunate to be publishing in a time when I have choices.

Related Post:
Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and an author. Follow her on Twitter @KirtidaGautam  

Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Karen Katchur holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from West Chester University and a Masters of Education degree in Health and Physical Education from East Stroudsburg University. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. She enjoys running and tennis and playing with her flat coat retriever puppy, Tucker and her cat, Carly.

Thanks a lot Karen for taking out time for this interview. 

What makes the process of writing worthwhile for you?
I don’t do a whole lot of plotting before I write the first draft. So when something in the plot or with the character surprises a reader, it’s because I was surprised, too! And that’s the part of writing that is fun for me and makes it all worthwhile.
What was the most frustrating moment of your writing career?
The most frustrating thing for me is when I have to put a book aside because for whatever reason it’s just not working. It happened once when I was just starting to write, and then again later after I signed with my agent. 
What was the most satisfying moment of your writing career?
The most satisfying moment of my career so far was when I held my debut novel in my hands for the first time.
If you have to make a movie trailer of your writing career, what the trailer will look like?
Train wreck! If you read the Writer’s Digest blog How I Got My Literary Agent, you’ll understand! (yes, I have. It is an inspiring blog)  
How much do you rely on personal emotions and memories to write your novels?
I’m not sure you can write, or write effectively, unless you draw on personal emotions and memories. For example, in THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD, I wrote Caroline's character based on what I knew about being a twelve-year-old girl coming of age. Plus, I had two daughters who were around that age at the time so I was witnessing it firsthand. Was Caroline me? No, she wasn't. And she wasn’t one of my daughters. But I based her character on what I remember about being her age and about how scary the world seemed when you're no longer a child, but not quite an adult either. I hope I tapped into those emotions and that readers can relate to them and remember their own experiences growing up.
Would you like to research some vocations as possible jobs for a character?
I love mystery/suspense novels, so anything in law enforcement intrigues me. I’m hoping to enroll in the Writer’s Police Academy if not this year, then next year. And I’ve always been fascinated with forensics. I’m a sucker for TV shows like Cold Case, Criminal Minds, American Greed, etc…
Tell me about some research information which you would never have known if you would not have written your book.
After writing THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD, I now know everything there is to know about snappers, including how to trap them. And I was in awe of what I learned about Underwater Rescue and Recovery.

Related Post:
Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and an author. Follow her on Twitter @KirtidaGautam