Interview with A.J. Flowers about “A Guide to Writing Your First Novel”

I’m
wrapping up the week with an interview with A.J. Flowers about her book, A Guide to Writing Your First Novel.
Bio:
A.J.
Flowers is a book blogger and fantasy author. Originally from an island about a
mile and a half wide named Sugarloaf key, A.J. discovered new lands and culture
through books. Life has drastically changed since her childhood, and she
currently resides in Detroit, Michigan as an Automotive Body Designer, which
has given her the opportunity to travel the world and experience regions and
cultures that she incorporates into her work. During her free time, she saves
the world from annihilation on her favorite video games side-by-side with her
Dutch husband and princess Blue Russian kitty named Mina.
Please tell us about your current
release.
This book
release is the culmination of five years of work. I’ve been on a journey to discover
how to write a book people will want to read. Eventually I started a blog to
share what I’d learned. Once I realized I had enough material to make a book, I
got to work and took the best tidbits I’d uncovered into one easy guide.
Because of my blog’s feedback, it was easy to judge what information was the
most useful to aspiring writers.
What inspired you to write this
book?
I had no
intention of creating a writing guide, especially before I even published my own
novels, which are still in my obsessive-editing mode. But through my love of
literature and desire to learn, it was natural to end up with a mountain of
data just waiting to be shared. Putting it into an organized book format was
fun and I got to pick out the best of what I’ve learned over the years.
Excerpts from A Guide to Writing Your First Novel:
Put your
manuscript down, I’d recommend at least two months. Six would be ideal. You
really need to get away from it long enough to change your mindset. Unless you
have a photographic memory, this technique will work. You’ll transform into the
one thing you crave feedback from: a reader.
When you
were born, did your parents shove a book of world history in your face? No,
absolutely not. They gave you what you could handle, and that’s exactly how you
need to treat the reader.
While
every chapter should have goals to further the plot and delve our readers
deeper into our world, there must be one goal above all else: Emotional Impact.
What exciting story are you working
on next?
I’ve
written five novels and more flash fiction and short stories than I can count.
I’ll be published in a literary magazine called Bards and Sages Quarterly for
flash fiction come July 2016 and I’m stoked for the professional credit!
(Writers need constant validation to convince ourselves we’re not frauds.)
While I
wait for publishers to respond about their interest in my ‘angels aren’t as
pure as you thought’ novel titled “Fallen to Grace,” I’m currently rewriting a ‘soul-parasite
fantasy’ titled “Sanctuary.” I’m hoping to be query-ready in about six months!
Unfortunately,
I have no future writing guides planned, but who knows. If I find I have a
second mountain of delightful data just sitting around waiting to be shared in
another five years, I’ll be sure to share it with the world.
When did you first consider yourself
a writer?
I
considered myself a writer when I was six and wrote a poem about the loss of my
beloved pet. It was the first time I used words to express what I was feeling,
and I realized how great that felt.
Do you write full-time? If so,
what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do
you find time to write?
I write
during any downtime I get. My day job is an automotive design engineer. Quite
the stark difference, I know. But most writers have day jobs. That’s just how
it goes! Writing isn’t as profitable as you’d wish it to be, and honestly I
love my day job. It’d be hard to give up too.
That
said, I write 7,000 words a week. That means at least 1,000 words a day. It
sounds tough unless you know where to squirrel away time. It takes about an
hour to write 1,000 words if you aren’t dilly-dallying. We all can find an hour
in our day if we try hard enough.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I will
honestly fit writing in wherever I can. So my writing quirk is that I have no
qualms about driving to a parking lot during my lunch break and writing for 45
minutes. If I tried to write at my desk people would stop by, apologize
profusely, and then ask me to do something work related. Gotta do what you
gotta do!
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
A
veterinarian, until I found out unicorns weren’t real. 🙁
Anything additional you want to
share with the readers?
If you’re
an aspiring writer, I encourage you to pursue your dreams. Writing is a
lifestyle, a marathon; it’s not a sprint. It’s something that’s a part of you
and you do it because you can’t imagine life without it. I feel that writers
forget that and rush into their work. Even though I’ve written so many books, I
am not publishing until I feel ready to publish. That’s why the first book I
technically published was a writing guide of all things, but that’s because I
knew exactly what needed to be said and how to say it. When you feel that way
about your work, you know you’re ready.
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