I’m delighted to be interviewing an exciting new author I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the world of blogging writers.
Her name is Chloe Corin and she recently published her debut novel The Hall Speaks. She was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about how she came to write her novel, what her experience has been and any advice she might have for other budding authors.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I love that you asked this question. My love for writing came much later, after college when there wasn’t any pressure to perform. Growing up I didn’t like writing at all. I practically hyperventilated anytime I had to write a paper in English. But one day I just decided to face my fear and write. I did this for two reasons: 1) I’m dyslexic and was told numerous times I couldn’t and shouldn’t write. Well, I wanted my children to know that they could do anything they wanted whether others believe in them or not. 2) Written word is amazing! It will last for centuries–it’s a great thing to pass to the future. I truly believe each writer leaves a part of themselves in their work. Knowing that one day my great grandchildren would read my novels and get a sense of who I was motivated me to start writing.
How did you come up with the idea for The Hall Speaks?
I lived it. The Hall Speaks is my version of Big Fish—the marriage of fiction and nonfiction. I worked in Residence life for years, living with hundreds of college students, and dealing with everything imaginable that could happen with unsupervised kids. I worked in Reslife at Virginia Tech while I was in graduate school. And as some know, they had the largest school shooting to date. The fact that student staff (RAs) were some of the first responders to this awful situation amazed me. That’s when I knew I wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a RA. However, I didn’t want to write a book just about a shooting. That’s like watching the Titanic and only seeing the part where the ship sinks. There was something really powerful seeing the characters’ lives, their struggles, who they loved, what they fought for, before the unsinkable ship crashed into the iceberg. So I knew I wanted to do something similar with this project because life happens before the tragedy. However, I do love happy endings and I made sure my novel had one!
Did writing The Hall Speaks require much research and if so what did that research involve?
Mostly I was just pulling from my memory. However, my book deals with quite a few things that require legal action so I have to research the law. But most of my research was on the literary world, from agents, genres, indie authors, publishing, etc. I seriously researched for an entire year on what do with a completed novel.
What’s the biggest challenge you faced while writing it?
Oh my goodness! I wrote the first draft in less than 3 months but like I mentioned, I have dyslexia so there was a ton to revise. Then the other challenges came along with life: my husband had some health challenges; we switched jobs, moved to another state, which caused me to lose my critique group. All of this prolonged this project because it was hard to dedicate time to writing when I really needed to keep up with my changing life! Once I moved I felt totally lost when it came to finding a writing group. Not having weekly support of other writers hurt my growth and focus as a writer. My husband’s awesome, however he doesn’t read fiction. So his input was kind but not helpful.
What have you found to be most helpful to your growth and development as a writer?
I loved my critique group when I lived in Texas. Many of the writers there were published and had agents. They were always really helpful and supportive, the energy of the group was inspiring! I never felt like anyone was competing against me, secretly wanting me to fail. It was quite the opposite, actually. Being part of the DFW Writers’ Group has been one of the best experiences for me and definitely helped my writing skills!
What has the experience of going through the self-publishing process been like for you?
I’m so glad that we have self-publishing! I love indie authors and think they are so brave for going at it alone. The hardest part so far has been the marketing and contacting readers. I came across an article, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Readers, that discussed publishing. One of the things I gathered and I agree with, is that with the ease of self-publishing and the volume of books available, readers aren’t sure what to read. That’s why a lot of people will just read whatever is popular. So finding that group of readers that will make your book popular is hard for new authors. Readers are the best marketing tool; they sell your book for you.
Looking back over the whole process of writing The Hall Speaks and publishing it, is there anything you’d do differently?
Yes, yes, and yes! I should have published my book a long time ago. Working on it for 3 years I found it difficult to stay excited about the book. For me, it was like watching the same movie over and over again for three years. No matter how good the movie is, you get to a point where you can hardly stand another line from it! I was getting too much advice, doing too much research, that I eventually got confused and stuck. At the time, New Adult wasn’t around so I didn’t know how to sell my novel. And looking back, I should have just gone for it! Timing means so much in the world of entertainment and over the last year, I’ve noticed one of my themes in other New Adult novels. Not that it’s a horrible thing, but it makes one of my story lines old news now. However, three years ago that story line would have been a fresh concept for this market. I’m not upset or anything, just learning along the way!
Have you got any tips for other aspiring writers?
I’m sure there are a lot of practical things that writers can do to improve their work. I’m not going to comment on those because I feel they change like the time. I’m sure at one point critiques were against 1st person narratives, and novels with two POVs, YA, and now NA, but as we can all see, time changes everything. However, one thing I think every artist should strive for is inspiration. Find this, and if you lose it, search for it until you find it again. Inspiration is the magic; it’s powerful enough to separate the talented from the phenomenal. I think about J.K Rowling, John Green, Michael Jackson, even Stephanie Meyer. They were able to create works that connected to people in such a way it impacted a culture.
Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me! I had a blast answering the question, it was great for reflection! ~Chloe CorinJ
Thank you too Chloe for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you all the best with your novel.