Sometimes the hardest thing for someone to do is talk about themselves. It’s a lot easier to talk about a book or blog they write then it is to get personal. What’s even more difficult is being vulnerable. I feel exposed when I put my original writing or artwork out there for someone to see or read.
I’m not standard. I’m not one to conform or follow the crowd. I wear what’s comfortable. I say what I’m thinking usually. I’m outgoing. I can usually strike up a conversation with just about anyone and that seems to scare people. I talk openly about things people usually are shy to discuss in public. I’m definitely comfortable laughing at myself. Sometimes self-deprecating. I like to keep things real.
I’m also a brand new novelist. I’ve written a few blog entries. I’ve written short stories, articles, poems. I’ve studied English in college and still have my own personal issues with grammar. I’ve started 3 different novels but this…this is the first one I’ve written all the way through to the end. I’m nervous, excited, and already working on the next novel in the series. But this article isn’t meant solely to promote my novel. It’s meant to introduce, to entice, to pique interest. What better way to do that then to have one of my characters interview me?
So here goes:
Desmin: “Are we doing this?”
Me: “Yeah, I guess we are.”
Desmin: “Boy, you are asking for it, but here goes. My name is Desmin, short for Devils Spawn Minion. Today, we are interviewing the person who created me, L. M. Schukraft. Ms. Schukraft….”
Desmin: “Uh, crap on toast, I have no idea what to ask you.”
Me: “Well, that will make for a very short interview. I don’t know, maybe ask me what inspired your character?”
Desmin: “Who’s doing this interview? Me or you?”
Me: “If I really thought about it, me. Since I created you and all. It almost feels like a split personality except you’re a figment of my imagination and I don’t plan on going out and getting myself a driver’s license as you.”
Desmin: “Oh, that would be awesome!”
Me: “Not happening.”
Desmin: “Awww, come on. Think how cool -”
Me: “Not. Happening.”
Desmin let out a puff of smoke: “Fine. What inspired you to create me?”
Me: “I love books with humor. I like stories that make me laugh out loud. That has that one side kick character you grow to love and will miss if he/she ever dies. That one character you can count on to be inappropriate -”
Me, ignoring him because it’s true: “-and I wanted a character like that in my book. There’s a couple of authors I read that have book series with that type of character. You, Desmin, are inspired by all of them, but you are my own idea.”
Desmin: “Okay, following that line of questioning, what inspired you to write the book?”
Me: “That’s harder to say. I tried writing a few different stories before and I would get a good 10 or 20 chapters in only to be hit with self doubt. People say there’s no original ideas anymore. It’s a matter of taking something and making it unique or special. I’d start a book and then see 3 different similar ones in the stores. And they were published. I’d start to worry my story wouldn’t seem original enough. Plus, I don’t plan a full outline ahead when I write. I just write and let the story take me where it goes and those stories would get sad or bogged down and didn’t move fast enough for me. I like action, I like dialogue that moves the story forward. I hate feeling stagnant or that it was getting depressive.”
Desmin: “Holy cow muffins, I don’t even have to ask questions now…”
Me: “Well, it’s a long answer how this book came about. Where was I? Oh, yeah, anyways, I’d tried writing a historical romance but got bored quickly and couldn’t think how to move it forward, plus I was writing by hand. Then I tried a mystery romance story but later discovered my whole premise (which I thought was original) had already been done in a few different ways. Plus the plot got complicated and I hit a major writer’s block after I’d killed off a character and there was no sidekick.”
Desmin: “Are you saying having a sidekick made that much of a difference?”
Me: “I think so. In truth, I’m an artist. I draw, I sew, I write, I read. When I read, I see the story in my mind, like a running movie. I have an active imagination. I hit a couple of hard times and working a full time job while trying to write a book isn’t easy. The second book I gave up on was back in 2003. I’d purchased my first laptop to type it up on. I was handwriting it on my lunch breaks but then I hurt my wrist. Tore a tendon, had surgery and that completely changed a lot of things for me. I lost my job. I suffered a lot of pain and pecking out words with my left hand wasn’t easy. Plus, I had to find another job. So my writing was put on hold for quite a long time until about 2009 or 2010 or so, when I decided to try my hand at writing a blog. I mean, I did go and get a degree in English so I could write or work with books in some way.”
Desmin: “Wow. Sounds like you went through a lot there for a long time.”
Me: “Yeah, I just remembered it wasn’t just my wrist that caused me issues back then. I had my wisdom teeth out, then my tonsils, then I injured my wrist. At my next job, I had my gallbladder out. My cat got sick. He died. My grandfather died. I cut ties with my family for a number of reasons. When I say a lot happened during those years, I wasn’t exaggerating.”
Desmin: “I could see how that would make it hard to write upbeat awesome sidekick characters. So what changed?”
Me: “An idea. I found writing my blog reviews to take some serious effort and time. I wanted to put that effort into a story. Something I could share with people. I’d looked into publishing before and it’s a black hole of multiple rejections. Don’t contact us, we’ll contact you. Plus, self publishing wasn’t as easy, free, or accepted as it is today. I got my idea from a TV show and a very old movie but I made it mine, different.”
Desmin: “What shows or movies inspired you?”
Me: “I’m not sure if I should share those or not. I’m scared of accidentally infringing on some copyright stuff. There’s a lot of rules out there. Lots of ways to get tripped up. But, my story is my story. It’s not based on those two things alone and I’m sure it might get compared to the TV show at some point: Drop Dead Diva. I can’t remember the name of the movie but to be honest it’s probably 5 or more different movies that inspired my story, like Heart and Soul…and of course I’m blanking on the names of the other ones.”
Desmin: “Plus, this is one long interview. I’m going to reign you in a bit. Let’s try for shorter answers, okay?”
Me: “Yeah, okay.”
Desmin: “So, an idea inspired you, what happened after that?
Me: “I got another laptop.”
Me: “I researched how to format a book for publishing. I read this great article about formatting by E. D. Baker. She’s the young adult/children’s author that wrote the Frog Princess. With her format suggestions, I set goals for myself. I wanted a book with 30 chapters, about 10 pages each. I figured I could meet those goals. Then I started to write. I loved the first two chapters and then I hit a writers block, again. I didn’t know what to do after my character woke up.”
Desmin: “That can definitely hinder things.”
Me: “I started chapter three. Got a few pages in. Then stalled out. Dead in the water. And then I lost my job again.”
Desmin: “No way.”
Me: “Yes, way. Plus, I injured my thigh. I apparently messed up a tendon or muscle. I couldn’t wear pants that weren’t loose. I used a cane. I cried getting out of my car. I spent 3 months on Advil for the pain. I tried physical therapy. I hurt so bad I was envious of handicap parking. I couldn’t wear high heels. I couldn’t go up or down stairs. My life completely changed with that injury. It was extremely difficult. I gained weight because I couldn’t exercise. It wasn’t until I was balling my eyes out at physical therapy, that the therapist tried massaging the muscle. She tracked the muscle spasm with her fingers and could feel where it rippled in many places. I swear it felt like that creature from Alien was going to come out my thigh, the way it spasmed.”
Desmin: “Fates that be, it sounds like you have had some rough luck. What happened after you lost your job?”
Me: “I stopped writing. I got drawn into another art altogether and tried my hand as a fashion designer.”
Desmin: “Wait. What? That’s a completely different field.”
Me: “Yup. I spent a lot of time and money trying to create and promote my fashion line. That’s another hard business to get into and I had absolutely no training in it. That dress in the photo I sent with this article? I made it.”
Desmin: “Okay, what happened with the book? How did you finally come to write it?”
Me: “I lost it. I’d started the first 3 chapters, loved them, got sidetracked by life and other endeavors and then my laptop died. It was gone. All gone. I was so depressed. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to duplicate what I wrote and I didn’t try.”
Desmin: “I don’t understand. If you didn’t try, then how did you come to write this novel?”
Me: “I didn’t try for a long time after that. 7 years. It took me 3 more job changes, another cat passing away, getting pregnant, having my son, and losing yet another job before I decided to finally try writing the book again. And I love it.”
Desmin: “What made you decide to try it again?”
Desmin: “God bless you.”
Me: “No, NaNoWriMo. National November Writing Month, or something like that. Write 60,000 words in the month of November. I decided to try the challenge and decided to revisit that story again.”
Desmin: “And it worked? You wrote the book in a month?”
Me: “Mostly. I reached the 60,000 word count goal but my story wasn’t finished yet. I soon realized it was going to turn into a series. I spent December finishing up my novel. January editing it. And published it in February.”
Desmin: “Did you think you would finish it?”
Me: “Yes. I told myself to write. Just write. Don’t get bogged down. Don’t doubt yourself. Just go with it. If you don’t need that scene or chapter later on, you can take it out. But just write those 1600 words a day. Do it. And sometimes I met the daily goal, and other times I didn’t.”
Desmin: “Okay, we’ve taken up a lot of space here. These are our last two questions: what was the hardest part about writing your novel?”
Me: “Trying to write it on my cell phone while my son napped. Feeling guilty about the time I spent working on it. Formatting it for publishing. Editing it. The fact that every time I opened it the formatting changed and I suddenly had 30 more pages.”
Desmin: “Tell us something funny, any random thing.”
Me: “I freaking found those first 3 chapters today. Somehow, I was able to turn my laptop on after carting it through 4 moves in a year and there it was. The title is a little different but I was amazed at how I managed to come so close to duplicating the original 3 chapters, 6 years later. I’m planning on posting them as a blog and calling it something like “The Bloopers of Writing” something like that.”
Desmin: “You’ve got to be kidding me. After you finished your book and all but published it, you found them?”
Me: “Yup. That’s how my world works sometimes.”
Desmin: “Well, I for one, definitely look forward to you hopefully having success and continuing the series. I’d miss myself if you didn’t.”
Me: “I’ve got at least 8 titles planned out and am looking forward to writing them. I also hope you keep your dragon form throughout most of them. I like that you can fly and shoot flames out your mouth.”
Desmin: “Are you going to do your shameless plug now?
Me: “I’ve gone through a lot of effort to promote my first novel. It’d be nice if people knew the title and where they can purchase it. Plus, I really do like the story and think for people who like fun, different, quick reads, this is something they should check out. Even Halos Can Be Crooked is the first book in The Crooked Halo Series. It’s available for purchase in print or ebook format on Amazon and CreateSpace. My blog is Lori’s ET Reviews. I spent 5 hours updating my theme for my blog and adding a new article. I’m posting short stories there too as ways to get to know my characters and promote. If you do read my book and like it, reviews are welcome and please share it!”
Desmin: “That is one big shameless promo there. Alright folks, thanks for joining us for this interview and keep your halos straight!”
This novel is an unconventional, contemporary paranormal romance mystery.
Autumn, wakes up from a near death experience to discover Angels are real.
Devils and Demons do exist.
And her halo is crooked!