Welcome peeps to another Author interview this one to the lovely E.Ardell Writer of the fantastic novel The Fourth Piece if you want some info about the book click on her name if not click on the this goodreads button
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
You know, it was so long ago, I don’t really remember exactly when. I started writing in first grade, but I know I wasn’t thinking about careers and making a living then. Maybe it was in like fifth or sixth grade when I started writing plays, and my friends and I wanted to create an acting troupe. (Yeah, we were THOSE kids. We got together to rehearse for plays we never put on, but it was fun.)
- What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I work full-time as a Teen & Reference Services librarian. I try to squeeze writing in whenever I can, but it doesn’t always happen. I need to put myself on a set schedule—and I swear I will, extremely soon.
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if this is so much of a quirk as it is me being a goofball. I still play The Sims, and still have Sims 2 where I made Simmy versions of my characters for fun. Sometimes, the Simmy versions do scandalous things that may or may not end up in my books. I’ve also changed a few relationships and sexual preferences based on hilarious Sim affairs.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Information—depends on what I’m writing. If it’s magic, I often look to Wiccan spell books, faerie lore, and Greek mythology. If it’s technical or science-y, and I want to sound extra smart, I bug my best friend, a NASA engineer, for knowledge and let her read over my interpretations of what she said.
Also, don’t forget, I’m a librarian. Research is my friend. I can spend hours online looking for information on a topic. I think it’s fun :D.
Ideas for my books—I’m just weird. Characters create themselves in my head and based on their abilities and personalities, I try to build plots. Some work out better than others.
- When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Hehe, I wrote my first book in first grade; I was about six. It was called The Apple Tree and it was awesome, no bias 😉
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Goof off! I like to play video games, read, karaoke, play laser tag (I wish there was a place around here), go to the movies, try new food, sky dive (so, I only did it once, but I’d do it again), and play sports for fun. (I actually joined a Quidditch team. I haven’t gone to work-out with them yet, but I will.)
- What does your family think of your writing?
My sister loves it. She’s my biggest fan. She probably knows my characters better than I do. When we were little, I used to bounce stories off her. She’d make up random situations for the characters to find themselves in, and I’d have to come up with a story to get them out of trouble.
My parents just wanted me to make sure I got a real job, lol. People in my family, except for my sister, did not take my writing seriously until I got published.
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I’ll tell you about a plot point surprise. As I’m writing the sequel to The Fourth Piece, titled The Third Gambit, one of my key characters revealed himself as a villain. I was just writing with the flow and boom. Now, I have to go back and read all scenes with that character in it and make sure they fall in line.
- How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve completed a lot of stories, and the majority of them will never see the light of day (yikes), but I’ve only published one and there is only one other series of books I’m looking to submit for publication in the future as of now. Of those two series, my favorite is Order’s Last Play. I don’t know which book in the series book will be my favorite because I haven’t written them all yet. Right now, The Third Gambit is.
- Speaking of favorites which is your favorite character, couple or thing to write about?
My favorite character to write about is Evan Ladreth. He only made guest appearances in The Fourth Piece, but he’s getting his equal airtime in The Third Gambit. I love writing about pyromaniacs—I don’t know why—and Evan likes to watch things burn. If there’s a fire near him, he probably started it.
- Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read. Read your genre, read genres that are similar and that could be bent into your genre, read best sellers, read books that are often overlooked, and most importantly, read plenty of what you like. You already do that, so you’re set. 😀
- Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I’ve had some great reviews from people who’ve read my book on Goodreads and Amazon, and a couple of direct comments and questions. Most of the feedback is pretty positive. I definitely know which character is the fan favorite and which ones will have to grow on people. It’s always amusing, because just like when I read books, the characters I favor are usually the ones others don’t and it seems the same goes for the characters I write.
I look forward to hearing more. I love input and interacting with readers.
- What do you think makes a good story?
Characters. If you don’t have good characters, you’ve got nothing. They’ve got to be complex. I don’t think all characters have to be likeable, but they all need to add flavor to the book soup you’re cooking up.
- What have you found most helpful in marketing your book? What have you found least helpful? Is there anything you want to warn authors to stay far, far away from?
Hmm… the most helpful for me has been word of mouth and being physically visible. At every event I’ve gone to where I did a reading and an interview, I ended up selling all of the books I brought with and having people reserving extra copies for their friends or relatives.
Blog Tours are good for getting your name out there. I really enjoyed working with YA Bound Books Tours, and I’ll be working with Chapter by Chapter next.
As for the worst, well, I don’t really know yet, because I’m still trying out different stuff. I did pay for a few editorial reviews, and some services were better than others when it came to the quality of the review. Some reviewers really know how to get their points across and makes things interesting, and some don’t. Some places will tell you the more you pay, the better the quality of their services. None of them ensure that you’ll get a good review, but if you pay a higher price, you can get them to agree not to publish the review if it’s bad. You could end up spending a lot of money. Depending on the size of your pocketbook and how much you budgeted to spend on promotions, multiple editorials might not be worth it.
- Who created your cover art? If you did it yourself, could you explain how you did it? If someone else did it, how did you hear about their services? What was it like working with them?
Ampersand Covers created my beautiful cover **kiss, kiss, kisses on my cover.** An old lady at the library I work at told me my cover was inappropriate because she thinks the guy featured on it is naked (no shirt is naked to her.)
I am published through a publisher called 48fourteen, and the publisher handled all things that had to do with consulting services. I did have a lot of say in the process though, so I got to look at various mock-ups and say which ones I liked the best and why, or what I didn’t like about certain mock-ups.
- Do you have an editor? Did you edit your own manuscript? Do you have advice for other authors editing it themselves or hiring someone else?
The publishing house provides editorial services. The editor for The Fourth Piece is Denise DeSio. I think authors who want to self-publish should hire an editor, but they first must make sure the editor is the best person to trust with their work. If you choose an editor that is unfamiliar with your genre or just can’t get with your style, you may end up with a book full of edits you hate, and you would have paid a pretty penny not to use any of the edits you received. But yes, before you put your book out, let a professional edit it. They will always catch things you and friends who may have read the manuscript for you did not.
- Where have you decided to publish your books? (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.)
The Fourth Piece can be purchased in print and eBook form through Amazon, in print from the publisher, 48fourteen, and also in eBook formats through Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple.
- Did you format your own book? Did you run into any trouble formatting it? Do you have any advice to fellow authors about formatting their books?
No, the publishing house handled formatting. I’m attempting to do my own formatting now for an anthology of short stories and poems written by teens at the library I work at. The teens illustrated their own cover and titled the book Quote the Raven. This is my first venture with Amazon Createspace. I think I’m going to use a writing program called Scriveners to help with the formatting. I hear it’s supposed to make things super easy. Here’s for trying. Wish me luck!
- Do you have a current work in progress or a book coming out soon? Tell us about them
Yes, The Third Gambit, The Fourth Piece’s sequel, is in progress. This story picks up where the first story left off and introduces more characters. For me, it’s the more exciting book, because now I can get into magic-users and off-world cultures and throw in more action sequences. I can also weave in more mythology and explanations now that the main characters from The Fourth Piece are in a place where more people can answer their questions.