Interview with new author Chloe Corin

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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?

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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.

The Hall Speaks is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

You can contact Chloe via her blog: chloeleighcorin.wordpress.com and on tumblr at:  chloecorin.tumblr.com

The Ta-Da Award

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The lovely, talented ReGi McClain has kindly nominated me for a new blog award called The Ta-Da award. I have to answer ten questions, which you’ll see below, and nominate some people to give the award to.

Since I’m really lazy, and most of my contacts are very busy people, I’m not going to nominate anyone. But here as promised are the questions and my answers:

1. What was the best experience you had on purpose last year?
Going down to my cousin’s wedding in Cornwall (it’s the most south western area of the UK) and spending time with my extended family. It gave me the chance to dress up which I don’t often do. We went to a pub for the reception and a random man at the bar told me I dressed well!! Surprising, but sweet!

2. What was the best experience you stumbled into last year?
Meeting another author and blogger (apart from Kate Frost) Jade Reyner face to face who I hadn’t met before. OK so it was kind of planned, but I didn’t expect to be able to meet her when I first got in touch with her via our blogs and Twitter. It was so lovely to meet another blogger who lives in my area of the UK – she’s wonderful which wasn’t necessarily a given! – and it means there are 3 of us now who can meet up together.

3. What was your greatest intentional accomplishment last year?
Self-publishing my debut novel The Inheritance. It took a long while to get to the point of self-publishing it but it has been worth every single second of effort to get to that point. I’ve learnt so much and really enjoyed the experience.

4. What was your greatest unplanned accomplishment last year?
I reached my 100th post on WordPress on the 18th December! So I was really happy about that and it was totally unplanned. Seems unbelievable that I’ve done that many posts as I only started in March last year.

5. Did you spend some time with someone you adore last year?
Yes, I spent plenty of time with my wonderful husband Ian who I totally, completely and utterly adore!

6. Were you nice to someone you don’t like last year?
I’m not sure actually. Possibly but thankfully I don’t generally come into that much contact with people I really don’t like. Usually though if I’m with someone I don’t like I try to at least be polite.

7. What was the most amazing thing you learned last year?
Finding out that I’d had nearly 9500 free downloads of The Inheritance when I did my free promotion for it. (Not sure if this answer counts but it’s what you’re getting!)

8. Who did you teach last year and what (G-rated thing) did you teach them?
I taught my dog not to nip at me when I’m drying him off after walks/when he comes in from the garden.

9. What events did you attend last year?
I went to a couple of book launches with my good friend and fellow WIPpeteer Kate Frost. They were good times, although the second one was held at the beginning of August, we were in a cramped bookshop and it was VERY hot and sticky. Yuk!

10. Did you travel anywhere? Even just downtown?
Hubby, dog and I travelled to south west Wales in April for a week long holiday in a cottage on a farm. It was great!

So there you have it. I hope you’re all having a fabulous weekend. Catch you later. 🙂

Post breakup

Breakup

I thought I’d be a bit kinder this week and share with you 23 lines from the first chapter of Reunion. They follow immediately on from the revised beginning of the story which I shared with you a few weeks ago, where Anna is confronting her boyfriend Elliot about his cheating. She proceeds to kick him out.

You may recognise some sentences in this week’s excerpt because this passage has parts in it that were from my original beginning. So apologies if some of it seems the same. I have, however, changed a fair bit of it so hopefully it won’t overlap too much.

At this point in the story Anna has just kicked her cheating boyfriend out. Her best friend Melissa, who currently has nowhere to live, is moving in with her. Anna is still struggling with her emotions over the breakup and Melissa is doing her best to help her to move on.

My WIPpet maths goes like this: 6+11+2+1+3 = 23 lines. So there you have it. Hope you enjoy it.

‘He did you wrong, Anna. He cheated on you,’ Melissa said looking Anna straight in the eye, a no-nonsense expression on her face. ‘You were absolutely right to give him his marching orders.’

Anna didn’t answer for a moment. There was a pain in her chest which had been there since she’d thrown Elliot out and it wouldn’t budge.

‘That’s the last of them,’ she said finally, heaving Melissa’s suitcase through her front door and ignoring her searching gaze.

Melissa picked up one of the many bags in the hallway and took it into the slightly tidier front room. ‘Well it’s all in the past now anyway. It’s a new start for both of us.’

Anna nodded and followed her from the hallway overflowing like a swollen river with suitcases and bags into the relative tidiness of her front room. Her hair was coming loose from its ponytail and falling into her eyes, so she vigorously tugged her hair out of its band and retied it, pulling it tightly until it hurt. Tears were threatening to fall, but she held them back like water by a dam.

Why should she give way to tears when there was no point? Elliot would win if she did that and yet… The world is your oyster. The thought popped into her head as she was standing a little dazed in the middle of the front room. Well it was, wasn’t it, now that Elliot was no longer a part of her life. Or the oyster is your world as he used to say. She scrunched her eyes up; try as she might she just couldn’t seem to get him out of her mind.

‘You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?’ Melissa’s voice brought her back from the brink.

‘Only a little,’ Anna lied unable to keep her voice steady.

As you may have seen on my blog, the free promotion of my debut novel The Inheritance ended yesterday and it went really well. I’ve had nearly 9500 downloads, most of them in the US so I’m happy about that. Hopefully it’ll lead to more sales. 🙂

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post an excerpt of your current writing work on your blog. Then add your name to this linky. Only rule is that it has to relate in some way to the date. Happy writing! Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

The Inheritance does well in free promo!!

Well that was certainly an exciting 5 days. From Thursday last week until yesterday, my debut novel The Inheritance was free to download on Amazon.

I’d worked hard in the weeks leading up to it and applied to lots of free promo sites to register my details with them in the hope that some of them would mention me.

I paid for 3 of them to feature my book, the rest I left to chance. I was amazed when over the course of the 5 days a total of 9 sites I’d applied to for free featured my book on their site. I was happy to say the least.

What surprised me the most about the free promo was how well it did Stateside. Having only had meager sales of The Inheritance over there, I was amazed at the huge number of downloads there were. I had just over 9000.

The image I’ve uploaded from Amazon isn’t very clear, but I got to #53 in free ebooks on Amazon.com as well as #1 in romance and #3 in teen/young adult fiction. This result is more than I could have hoped for. I’m grateful to my blogger friends and Twitter followers as well as friends and family for spreading the word.

Although I didn’t do as well back here in the UK, I did get a few hundred downloads so I’m glad about that. In total, when I notched up the number of downloads across the world it came to 9461 which is just incredible for me.

Having had great success in the US but less in my own country, it got me to wondering why exactly that was. Thinking about it, I guess it may have been the cover that appealed to the American market and less so in the UK. It might also have been the subject matter, that a story about an inheritance and family issues may have been more appealing in the US than the UK.

Whatever the case, I’m just glad that thousands of people are now reading my book. That’s a good feeling. I’m also hoping that I’ll get a few more sales out of it. I was rather disappointed that my ranking in the sales category on Amazon had plummeted, both in the US and UK. Then I thought a bit more logically and remembered that technically I hadn’t sold any books anywhere since my free promo began, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on how The Inheritance does in the coming days. It’s exciting times.

The Inheritance is FREE from today for 5 days!!

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Well it’s here. As of today my debut novel The Inheritance is free on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk for 5 days until Monday.

If you haven’t yet read it, why not download it now while it’s free? And let me know what you think of it. Feedback whether positive or negative is always good!

Check out my Goodreads page too where you can read a short bio of me and connect with other readers/writers. I can also be contacted on Twitter via @ElaineJeremiah.

I hope you all have a good day and for those of you who are preparing to take part in NaNoWriMo – good luck!

The Inheritance will be free soon!

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Hi everyone. This is just a brief blog post to let you know that my debut novel The Inheritance will be FREE on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk for 5 days from this Thursday.  (I will post the web address details on the day.)

The dates are: Thursday 31st October to Monday 4th November. If you haven’t yet purchased it, why not get it for free during this period?

And if you have bought The Inheritance and enjoyed it, please spread the word. I’d be really grateful!

Happy writing everyone. 🙂

Harnessing the power of Twitter

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I joined Twitter just over 18 months ago. I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful to my writing and I’ve made contact with other writers through it, some of whom I’ve even met and become good friends with.

But for quite a while I wasn’t engaging fully with other authors on Twitter. Although I had over 1000 followers and I was following over 1000 people, following people and gaining new followers was slowing to a trickle. I just wasn’t very active on it. Most of the time I would do a post on my blog, tweet about it once and expect people to respond.

If I’m honest with myself, I did realise that wasn’t enough. But I was busy doing lots of other things, writing and blogging to name two, and so I neglected Twitter.

A couple of weeks ago I was given some good advice by another writer, Terry Tyler. She was commenting on my guest post for Joanne Phillip‘s blog which I’d written as part of my blog tour to promote my debut novel The Inheritance. She suggested that to publicise myself more online, it would be a good idea to make sure I’m active on Twitter by retweeting about 20 people a day. That way I would likely get more people retweeting my tweets and therefore be seen by more people.

I decided to take Terry’s advice. I’ve been trying to retweet around 20 people a day as she suggested and I’m seeing the results. When you retweet other authors, they really appreciate it – as I do when people retweet my messages about my novel. It leads to more people following you, you have a greater presence online and it helps towards that vital marketing of your book. Your tweets end up being seen not just by your followers, but by their followers too and so on.

I’m going to continue to take a more proactive attitude to using Twitter and harnessing its power to promote my writing. So far it’s paying dividends.

When the words just won’t come

Words

I will be honest with you that the title of this blog post isn’t entirely true of my writing right now, although it has been in the past.

But I have been finding that the flow of my WIP is slowing at the moment. Before I began writing I made a comprehensive plan of the plot and in which direction I wanted my story to head.

Of course in actually coming to write it things change and I’ve found that the characters I’d planned have evolved and taken new paths. That’s all well and good. But sometimes you get to a stage in writing a story where things just go a bit stale.

As I said I know where I want to take my story ultimately but I want it to flow seamlessly, with one scene merging into the next so that the narrative doesn’t feel forced.

Right now I’m feeling my writing’s a bit barren. I’ve had a lot of things to focus on apart from this WIP because among other things,as you may have seen from other posts, I’ve been promoting the publication of my debut novel The Inheritance. So I’ve had plenty of distractions.

That’s not the real reason for this dryness in my writing though, I don’t think. I just need to somehow regain a bit of momentum with it, to really tell the story and focus on the general plan I originally came up with and not get too bogged down in dialogue between characters which doesn’t go anywhere.

When I’ve got past this difficult stage of trying to sew the story together seamlessly somehow and I eventually finish the first draft, I’m actually looking forward to sending it out to beta readers and getting their opinions on what’s working and not working, particularly in this part of the story.

Ultimately I want to be able to finish and publish this story by the end of next year but I’m not sure I’ll manage it. Especially seeing as writing a new post for my blog feels a lot easier than moving the action in my WIP along with no visible seams!

What do you do when you’re finding it hard to find the right words to carry a plot forward?

What a week that was!

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Well my blog tour to promote my debut novel The Inheritance is over. I’ve learned a lot from it, the main thing being to keep persevering in promoting my novel.

I’ve had some great advice recently on how to do just that. I feel that my blog isn’t being seen by that many people, and therefore my book is not as well known as it could be. Yes it’s true that blogging is not the only way to promote a novel – far from it.

But I realise that if I’m to gain support from other writers, which I believe is one of the key ways of promoting my book, I need to have a greater presence on Twitter for one thing. I have to confess to being a little lazy when it comes to Twitter. I’m often following new people, following them after they follow me or finding their details then choosing to follow them.

However I don’t engage that much with other Twitter users. Recently I’ve taken to retweeting people, but that only goes so far. I do thank fellow Twitter users for following me which seems to go down well. But I feel I need to devote a bit more time to Twitter, to cultivate my ‘relationships’ with my followers and those I’m following.

Of course if you’re tweeting regularly you have a little less time for blogging and writing. I guess it’s all about prioritising – being able to balance everything so that you spend the right about of time on each thing. Obviously the writing should come first – after all that’s what we’re here for isn’t it?

I do think, though, that our relationships with other writers are so important. They can offer us invaluable support and advice because they’ve gone through, and are going through, exactly the same process as us in their quest to write books and market them.

So having blogged pretty much every day for the last week, I think I’m going to blog a little less this week, tweet a little more and DEFINITELY write much more.

How do you cope with juggling all the different aspects to your writing life?

End of my blog tour – interview with Kate Frost

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After over a week of interviews and guest posts on my fellow writers’ blogs, I’ve got to the end of my blog tour to promote my debut novel The Inheritance.

And to finish up today I’m back where I started – on my friend Kate Frost’s blog being interviewed by her. Kate is a good friend of mine. We live fairly close together and she’s the first person I’ve followed on Twitter who I’ve met face to face!

Kate has been a real support and help to me over the past year or so on my quest to publish The Inheritance. So take a look at her interview with me. She asks me some great questions which I hope you’ll find interesting. You can even find out which of my characters are like me and which of them I’d like to meet.

I’ve really enjoyed my blog tour, especially answering your questions about how I came to publish The Inheritance.  I’ve also enjoyed the preparation for it, contacting my fellow writers and arranging it all as well as answering the questions for my interviews and writing my guest posts.

If you missed any of my blog tour dates and would like to take a look you can find the details here.  Thanks again to Kate, Joanne, Jade, Briana, Martin and Laurey for helping me with my promotion.  I really appreciate it guys!

If you would like to buy The Inheritance it’s available on Amazon UK and Amazon.com.  I’m also on Goodreads and you can contact me on Twitter via @ElaineJeremiah.