What genre/s do you write in?
I actually write in multiple genres for children, young adults, and adults. I write the story rather than set out to write a genre-specific narrative. I enjoy how the story unfolds as I write it. These include speculative fiction, romance, steampunk, mystery, and fantasy to name a few.
How long have you been writing?
I came to the craft of writing later in life once I immigrated to Canada. I began in 2009 after discovering a writing group. Prior to that, I had not written but enjoyed a variety of other creative pursuits my entire life. I have dabbled in textiles, pottery, painting, sculpture, as well as knitting and sewing. A bit of everything you could say.
Do you have any published books or articles?
Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took. To date, I have 9 published books, have stories in 3 anthologies, co-wrote a memoir guide book, and have been published regularly on various websites and in newspapers and magazines. My novels are published through Dream Write Publishing, a full-service publisher.
Did you use an editor? If so who?
My publisher provides an editing service. I also partake in an annual novel editing workshop with members of my local writing group.
Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?
My publisher formats my books for print and e-book format, and I have access to local and online illustrators and designers. Each one has given me a unique look for my books, following my vision of the artwork and graphics. Having input in this process is a real bonus.
Did you self-publish or get traditionally published? How did this go for you?
I am published through Dream Write Publishing; they offer a full service from edit to design to publishing and allow authors to have significant input throughout the process. It is the best of both worlds. I have been very happy with this publisher.
How do you market your work and promote your brand?
I use my social media sites to promote, as well as attend many local and provincial book fairs and events (prior to COVID). I enjoy being interviewed on blogs, radio shows, and podcasts, and in local newspapers–anywhere I can, really.
Social media links:
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V
Alberta Authors Cooperative http://www.albertaauthorscooperative.ca/
Publisher Dream Write Publishing. http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca
What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?
I think each author needs to use whichever sites work best for their genre and the age group they are targeting. There is a multitude of sites available now, and we can’t use them all. I primarily use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn as well as my WordPress blog.
Do you use an agent?
No, I do not.
Do you use paid advertising? If so, what?
I have not paid for advertising to date. It may be something I do in the future.
Do you have a blog or website?
Yes, I do www.mandyevebarnett.com I post twice a week–Bibliophile's Collective Tuesday and Wordsmith's Collective Thursday. I connect with readers and the writing community with my blog.
What inspires you most to write?
Goodness, what a loaded question. I find the act of writing to be therapeutic. If I don’t write, I don’t feel right. I can find almost anything inspiring from a dream, a prompt, an overheard conversation, the world around me whether natural or urban. There is always something to inspire.
What do you do to help with writer's block?
I count myself lucky to have only suffered writer’s block once. I was trying to write in the romance format and it completely stopped my creativity. With the support of the members of my incredible local writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, I am encouraged and supported in my writing. And also I go on regular writing retreats throughout the year.
How do you plan your writing and start?
I have, until recently, always been a free flow writer, allowing the characters to dictate where the narrative goes. However, my current work in progress is a trilogy, so I have been plotting the story arc across each book and the series. It is a new skill I am having fun learning the process.
Is writing your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?
Unfortunately, I have a full-time day job! I will not bore you with the details, it is mind-numbing. I am looking forward to retiring and my writing becoming full time, though with not only fiction projects but also within my freelance business.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on the first book of a detective trilogy. The idea came as a complete surprise; I do not usually write series. Although, I wrote a sequel, after being ‘encouraged’ by my readers to write it. This trilogy came into my head almost immediately formed, which as all writers know is a blessing. I’m excited to explore this new genre.
What is your target audience?
As a multi-genre author, my target audience is across the board from children to young adults to adults. I make sure all my content on my social media is PG because of that. I promote each book especially to the age group it targets on my social media sites and my blog.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Goodness, how long is a piece of string? I can write, edit and publish a book in a year, but on the flip side have had several manuscripts linger for years. This can because another project takes precedence or I am learning more about that genre.
When did you first discover you enjoyed writing?
The moment I shared my first short story with my writing group. The reaction I received as I read those words hooked me completely. I love having unexpected twists in my stories. I like to flip the normal tropes on their heads.
What is your writing schedule look like?
It changes from day to day. Sometimes I am completely immersed for hours, others I only jot down sentences, plot ideas, or a characterization. It depends on what else is going on.
What does your family think about your writing?
My family is proud of my accomplishments and astounded that I have found this new creative path later in life and how it has encompassed and improved my life.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Enjoy time with family and friends. Host meetings with my writing group, walk my little rescue dog, try other crafts, read and enjoy exploring parts of Canada.
Where do you get information and ideas for your writing? I research a lot on the internet and when possible contact experts in a particular field I am writing about. For instance, I have contacted a barrel racer and an RCMP officer for specific information. I enjoy using writing prompts and several have become short or even longer narratives. I have used actual news stories as the inspiration for a couple of novels too.
What do you think makes a good story?
Strong characters overcoming a specific problem while stimulating a reader to not only emphasize with them but become immersed in the world created in the book.
Thank you, Mandy, for your interview and the chance to get to know you better.
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