Thursday, 26 September 2013

Author Interview - L.J. Clarkson

louisa

One thing you need to know about LJ Clarkson is that she tells BIG lies. She tells everyone that she gave up her career as an Environmental Engineer and Project Manager to write full time. But that's not entirely true. Ten percent of the time she sleeps in. Fifteen percent of her day, she spends surfing the internet, researching for new books and her business. Ok, fine. Two percent is for research. But she's only admitting it so she doesn't end up like Boldrick. For eighteen point seven five percent of her day, she runs her promotional and support site for authors, called Indicated (www.indicated.com.au). 

The rest of her time involves writing, reading, watching movies and TV, walking her dogs and falling asleep whenever her boyfriend talks technical computer lingo. Truthfully, she hates early mornings, mondays, grammar (yuck! just ask her poor editor!), broccoli and cleaning. If you would like to drop her and line and let her know what you think of the book, she would love to hear from you. Just not before 8:30am in the morning.


How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
Great question. I never really thought about this before. Growing up, I always had a wild imagination. Combine that with karate lessons and boom! I was a warrior princess, armed with some serious fighting skills and a bo (staff) pretending I was Donatello or Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and defeating bad guys. Nowadays my bo is a keyboard and my punch is my mouse! The only thing that remains is my imagination and I let it run wild on the screen mwuhaha!

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I do! Eighteen years ago, back when there was a super early version of Windows, I started writing a story with a very similar plot to the TV Show Lost, just not as weird. Since it was a very basic word processing program, hard to use and I had homework, I lost interest. Ten years later, I was inspired to start writing a story featuring Boldrick the vain cat after some hilarious dinner-time stories. But I have to be careful because JJ Abrams steals ideas from my hardrive hehe.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?
My greatest strength would have to be humor, quirkiness and entertainment.

How did you develop your plot and characters?
Years ago I read this amazing book about students of Egyptian mystery schools learning how to use a greater percentage of their brain to levitate, walk through walls, see without eyes and turn invisible. I created my own twist on this concept, where a young girl with a magical silver hair (inspired by my first grey hair!) is invited to study at Mastermind Academy with other silver haired Masterminds. Wary of copying the Harry Potter and the magic school theme, I started the series with Isabelle accidentally wishing her strand away and having to save it to survive. I worked on revising this plot over 4.5 years.

I developed some of the characters based on more exaggerated, fun and bolder versions of myself because it was fun to poke fun at myself. For example, Esme started off a brazen lady and evolved into an environmental crusader based on my career as an Environmental Engineer-although she is much more passionate than me.  Boldrick's character stemmed from a personal joke with a neighbor about a vain cat. With some input from a critique partner he grew into a man cursed to live as a cat, a chronic fringe styler, a klutz and at odds with his animal behavior

How important do you think villains are in a story?
A story can still have conflict without a villain because the character(s) will have a problem they need to overcome, or an antagonist causing them grief- but an antagonist isn't necessarily an enemy. Either way, the readers will cheer for the character when they defeat their obstacle.

A villain isn’t essential to a storyline, and how much they feature in the story is dependent on the story and the plot. For example, in The Silver Strand, the villains are in the background because they are associated with a subplot. Whereas, in the new book I’m writing, I’m experimenting with the villain as a prominent character, because the meddling they do is so much fun to write and it can’t be told through the main character’s point of view.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
*strokes chin* By that time I will be self-employed, sleeping in every day, reading emails daily from my fans of the Mastermind Academy books, plus tinkering with toy designers to produce some really cool merchandise. I’ll also be popping open a bottle of champagne to celebrate my twenty thousandth member of Indicated - a support and promotional site for independent and small press authors - and the hundredth book I’ve helped make a best seller.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?
The writing community is a treasure chest of knowledge and support. They share information like writing tips, publishing and promoting information and publishing opportunities. Anything you want to know, just Google it and up pops a writing blog, or just ask your writing buddies. For the support side, there’s always writers out there offering to critique manuscripts, review each other’s published books, give another author a shout out to help promote them and to cheer them on! Make friends with other writers. You won’t regret it.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
I am one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to starting a project and never finishing it. I once painted my bedroom and left the tape around the timber doorframes. So I’m quite proud that I actually finished writing this book and published it!

What contributes to making a writer successful?
Writing a story is only one component. Publishing it is a team effort. A good story only gets better through reviews by critique partners and edits from a red pen-wielding editor. A great cover design and interior formatting draw readers in. An intriguing and interesting website with informative and useful content will keep the reader coming back. Once the book is published, it’s up to the to author promote the book, get it noticed by new readers, build exposure and build a bigger audience to achieve success.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
That there is no one else like you and never will be, so spend less time criticizing and judging yourself, because it’s ok to be you, especially if you're silly like me!

  silver strand
The Silver Strand Ever since twelve year old Isabelle Tresdon’s silver strand of hair sprouted, it’s been nothing but trouble: bleeding pink dust and sparking like a firecracker. Refusing to be known as the girl with the freaky, grandma hair, she wishes it never grew and the hair withers and tarnishes. The only problem is, the strand is Isabelle's source of magic, and she can transform particles of energy into matter. It's also her ticket into Mastermind Academy, a secret school inside the earth’s core. Five days remain before the strand drains her magic and life, forcing Isabelle to enter into a deal with two trickster Masterminds to save it. But what she doesn't count on is there is more at stake than just her life. The Silver Strand, a MG Fantasy Adventure for 9-12 year olds, is book 1 in the Mastermind Academy Series.


silver strand tour

    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/9/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

Blog-A-Licious

Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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