Sunday, March 31, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Stephanie Humphreys

From the Northern bracket comes the accomplished Stephanie Humphreys.


If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why?
Anne of Green Gables. She was smart, imaginative, feisty, and she lived in a great era.



We all know what comes next. :)


If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
I would love to co-write a book with Mary Higgins Clark. I love the way she tells a story I think it would be fascinating to spend the time working with her.





How many hours do you spend on writing a day?
It really depends on what else is going on in my life. Right now I am directing the play our high school is putting on, so my writing time has been limited. Anywhere from fifteen minutes when I'm busy with family or community things, to five hours when I'm on a roll.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Get to know other people in the writing community. No one understands the excitement and frustrations involved in being a writer more than other writers. They are the ones with the best advice and the most enthusiastic encouragement. They are also the best resource I have. Writers tend to know the weirdest things!

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
Without personal experiences, I couldn't have written anything. I think all my writing starts somewhere in my own life, whether I use an incident that has actually happened to me, or whether my experiences colour my character's viewpoints. The fun comes when I seek out experiences that enhance my writing and give my stories depth.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?
From the time I sent out the first submission to the date it hit bookshelves, it was almost exactly three years.

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
I can't think of one. I don't watch a lot of movies.

Do you write in your PJ's?
Only when I am writing late at night. I'm always cold, so usually I write wrapped in a sweater or two and a blanket.

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing?
I use a laptop. My husband gave me one for my birthday one year when I commented that it was hard to get writing time on the family computer since I had to share with children doing homework. It has made writing so much more flexible since I can write curled up on the couch, or at my desk, or anywhere else I want.

What is your favorite quotation?
I have too many favourite quotes to pick just one. I keep a journal with quotes to read when I need a little encouragement. This one hangs on the wall in my office.


"The man who follows the crowd, will usually get no further than the crowd.  The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before. Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt.  And the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they'll say it was obvious all along. You have two choices in life:  you can dissolve into the mainstream, or you can be distinct.  To be distinct, you must be different.  To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be . . ."   - Alan Ashley-Pitt   

What is your favorite cereal?
I don't enjoy many cereals. I guess my favourite would have to be granola.

If you were a crayon what color would you be?
Turquoise.

Do you prefer summer or winter?
I like winter. More time to read and drink hot chocolate. (I'm not a huge fan of gardening in the summer.) I just wish winter wouldn't last quite so long!

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
My goal this year is to finish the cozy mysteries I am working on.

The world would be a better place if . . .?
The world would be so much better if everyone would be more patient with each other, and less judgemental of others.

What is something you've always wanted to try?
I've always wanted to be more of a world traveler. There are so many interesting places and things I would love to see.



Saturday, March 30, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Kelly Nelson


From the Western bracket comes the creative Kelly Nelson.


If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why?
I haven’t really thought about this in my adult life, but as a young teenager I always dreamed of being Alec in The Black Stallion books.


If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
 I’d love to work with Gerald Lund on a historical fiction project—what a fabulous writer he is. The Work and the Glory and The Kingdom and the Crown are some of my all-time favorites.

How many hours do you spend on writing a day?
 I’m all over the board on this. When I was writing The Keeper’s Saga there were days I spent 12 hours on it and other days when I spent only a few minutes, although writing was all I wanted to do. Lately, I’ve been spending more time marketing and selling than writing. I am looking forward to delving into writing again and hope to soon spend at least 3 hours a day on that aspect of being an author.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
If it is your passion, don’t give up. Carefully listen to anyone who is willing to give you feedback, because if one reader thought it, there will probably be others with similar concerns. Read what you want to write. There is so much to learn from simply reading. And lastly, take some writing classes. It will be well worth your time.

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
It is the easiest to write about things you know. Nearly every aspect of my life has worked it way into my novels in some form or another.  Horses are my first passion; hence every book I’ve written has a few horses in it.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?
I wrote a three-book trilogy during 2009 and I received a publishing contract for it in the fall of 2011. For me it took two and a half years.

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
Dear John. I like the movie ending much better than the book version.


Do you write in your PJ's?
Okay, I’ll admit that yes, I do.

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing?
Definitely a laptop—I love the portability of a laptop since I’m always running kids around to their activities.

What is your favorite quotation?
“It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, he will hear our prayers.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley.


What is your favorite cereal?
Crispix, with Honey Nut Cheerios as a close second.

If you were a crayon what color would you be?
Hot pink—I think that is such a happy, confident, and spontaneous color.

Do you prefer summer or winter?
I LOVE the summer—the warmth, the sunshine, and the long days. My favorite thing is to saddle up at twilight and go for ride through the nut orchards as day fades into night.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
I want to write another book. I’m never happier than when I’m immersed in writing a good book. I’m dreaming of a companion book to The Keeper’s Saga featuring stories from Garrick’s life.

The world would be a better place if . . .?
 . . . everyone was simply kind to each other.

What is something you've always wanted to try?
 This is strange, I know, but I’ve always wanted to try driving a Ninja bike.


Kelly riding her horse on the stake Pioneer Trek.


Kelly and her horse

Signing at Costco



Friday, March 29, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Anna Jones Buttimore



From the Eastern bracket comes the delightful Anna Jones Buttimore.

If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why?
Probably a minor character from Harry Potter at the end of the last book. So no Voldemort related horror and carnage to face, but the ability to wave my wand and have the house magically clean itself.

If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
I have already co-written a book with a good friend and it was a lot of fun and resulted in a book which was far better than either of us could have written alone. But I would love to work with Stephenie Meyer on
Midnight Sun, the unfinished Twilight novel. I’m unashamed to admit to being a huge Twilight fan, and the idea of rewriting a bestselling novel from the viewpoint of a different character is an amazing challenge.

How many hours do you spend on writing a day?
Erm… none. I’m lucky if I get fifteen minutes a day – I have a job, three children and I teach Seminary so I just don’t get the time. If I do write it’s generally late at night.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Practice writing. Choose really difficult things to write, like sympathy letters or descriptive poems, or join a writing group where you can learn your craft and be stretched and challenged. Writing is like any other skill – you can get better at it with regular practice.

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
I like to think they haven’t, in that I’m very careful to keep real life out of my books.  Having said that, my latest book,
The Saved Saint which is about a Mormon missionary who joins an evangelical church, draws very heavily on my own experiences. Most of the incidents in there are things that happen to me.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?
Surprisingly not long; I think I was very lucky. I wrote a book and sent it off, and got a lovely letter back from an editor who said she thought my writing style was very good but the story itself was totally unsuitable. She suggested an alternative story for me, I wrote the book in about six months, and sent it straight to her and it was published.

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
Actually, several. My favourite film,
The Princess Bride, is much better than the book which is rather slow. 



Every Bond film ever is better than the book, and while The Hunger Games was excellent in both formats, there were some extra details which could be included in the film which weren’t in the book (such as showing the “Behind the scenes” of the Gamesmakers which wasn’t in the book because Catniss never sees it) and added a whole new level.



Breaking Dawn part 2 was better because the ending was so much more dramatic and impressive.  



Do you write in your PJ's? Sometimes, but since I’m usually just grabbing spare minutes I write in whatever I happen to be wearing.

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing?
I prefer a desktop, but I have all my novels in Dropbox so I can pick up my laptop and work elsewhere if I need to. My husband bought me the laptop so that I could write in bed, but I’ve found that isn’t comfortable and I tend to fall asleep with it still perched on my knees, which isn’t good for the laptop.

What is your favorite quotation?
There are too many! Scriptures like “Wickedness never was happiness” or “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” I have found to be both profound and true. Then there are lines from my favourite films, like “Never give up, never surrender!” My youngest daughter says lots of funny things. On one occasion we’d driven to Heathrow airport to pick up my husband after he’d spent a month working in Russia. Ceri was then about 3 or 4, and ran up to him all excited and happy to see him again. The first words she said to him were, “My penguin is a secret agent!”

What is your favorite cereal?
Kellogg’s Chocolate Cornflakes. I ate them for breakfast every day for several years, and then, to my horror, Kellogg’s stopped making them. In June last year they suddenly appeared in the shops again after a ten-year absence, so I’m back to eating them every single day. No, of course I don’t get bored of them. Have you
tried them? Once you do, all other cereals can just pack up and go home.

If you were a crayon what color would you be?
Yellow.

Do you prefer summer or winter?
Summer. But you have to bear in mind that I live in England where it never gets above 80 degrees in summer, and it is absolutely bone-chillingly wet and cold in winter.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
Finally lose the weight. I have 60lbs to lose and I’m giving myself a whole year to do it in, which means just 5lbs a month. Sounds easy, but as at the end of February I’ve lost exactly nothing, so I’ve got some work to do.

The world would be a better place if . . .?
Every child born anywhere could grow up in a nurturing, loving and stable family where they are cherished, protected and educated. It might take a couple of generations but I believe it would solve a lot of society’s problems.

What is something you've always wanted to try?
Being extremely rich. I think I’d be great at it and very kind and generous to my many servants. But maybe a better answer would parascending (parasailing). I’m actually really scared of heights and yet somehow that looks a lot of fun.





Book Giveaway Flash Mob in Trafalga Square
Anna and her husband, Roderick, participated in the Dunmow Flitch Trials. You should check-out the website for information about this 700 year old tradition that awards couples slabs of bacon.





At the baptism of Anna's daughter Ceri
Anna participated in her first book signing this year.



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Liz Adair



From the Western bracket comes the expert Liz Adair.

If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why? 
That’s a real hard question, because I wouldn’t like to be anyone else. If you asked who my favorite character is, I’d say that one of the names on the top of the list would be Horatio Hornblower. Maybe that’s because, after reading the eleven book series, I’ve got to know him so well, but I like him because he’s an ordinary man, flawed in many ways, but with an inner moral compass that drives him to do heroic things. 
Ioan Gruffudd as Horatio Hornblower
 I feel the same way about Ross Poldark. He’s a little more flawed than Hornblower, but he’s a lover of equality in a time and a land where inequality is taken for granted. 
Robin Ellis as Ross Poldark

If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
I’d write with Tanya Parker Mills because she has such a diplomatic way of dissuading me from hanging too many adjectives on unsuspecting little nouns.

How many hours do you spend on writing a day? 
Not nearly enough to get something accomplished. I spend a lot more time at my computer than I do writing.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
  
Plant your derrière in your office chair (that’s a rhyme and I didn’t even plan it), place your fingers on the keyboard, and type. Thinking and planning won’t get the book written, and inspiration seldom comes until you’ve shown that you’re in a position (described above) to receive it.

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?  
My personal experiences have provided great literary moments in my writing. Well, at least mediocre literary moments.  Pulling the calf in Counting the Cost? That was personal experience. Teaching school in a tiny, remote logging community like in Cold River? Personal experience. Getting caught in a storm aboard a small boat like in Mist of Quarry Harbor? My knuckles are still white from that personal experience, and it was twenty years ago.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?  It took ten years, and the book that was published wasn’t the first one I wrote.  

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
I loved the movie version of The Age of Innocence.  I think I preferred it to the book, though I read the book ages ago. I mean, Daniel Day Lewis makes anything better. Think of The Last of the Mohicans. Yup. That movie was definitely better than the book.

Do you write in your PJ's? Yes! I finally take my shower and get dressed around noon. I’m much more productive that way.

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing? I only have a laptop, so that’s what I write on. I do have an Alphasmart that’s wonderful for toting around and writing in places where I don’t want my laptop, like the beach or camping.

What is your favorite quotation?
I hope you’re not expecting something literary or uplifting. My favorite quotation is a snarky comment by Winston Churchill about then Secretary of State John Foster Dulles.  He said, “[John] Foster Dulles is the only case I know of a bull who carries his china shop with him.”

What is your favorite cereal? 
My favorite cereal is oatmeal, which is crazy because I hated it as a child. Sometimes when my husband is gone in the evening, I’ll have it for supper.

If you were a crayon what color would you be? 
I’d be some sort of lavender. When I was younger I probably would have been purple, but I’ve lost oomph through the years, so lavender is all I can muster now.  But it would have to have a suave name, like ‘last of the sunset’ or ‘twilight glow’ or ‘faded regality.’ 

Do you prefer summer or winter?  
Neither. I love the fall.  I love the harvest, the gathering in and putting by. I love the warm days that have the hint of crispness, morning and evening, a portent of what’s to come, but not yet. 

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year? 
I’m going to write two (count ‘em, TWO) books this year. I’m bringing back Spider Latham, and he’s got a mystery or two he’s got to solve.

The world would be a better place if . . .?
  
. . . people forgot about putting ‘special sauce’ on hamburgers. Mustard is what a hamburger needs. Mustard makes you sit up and take notice; it makes you straight-arrow true; it reddens your blood and stiffens your spine. Don’t even get me started about putting mayo on hamburgers.

What is something you've always wanted to try?  
 
I’ve always wanted to try singing in a Broadway musical, but the lack of any vocal talent has made it inadvisable. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Michael Snapp


From the Southern bracket comes the witty Michael Snapp.

If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why? 
I hate to sound lame, but thought about this a lot… I got nothin’. At a later date. I would like to change the answer to the first question. I can’t believe I didn’t realize this. If I could be any character it would be Robert Langdon from Dan Brown’s books. He’s a professor, author, problem solver. He’s honest, trustworthy and adventurous. 





If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?

Depends, fiction = Dan Brown, nonfiction = Mitch Albom

How many hours do you spend on writing a day?
Between zero to two or more (working full-time limits it many days)

What advice would you give an aspiring writer? 
Have a firm grasp of your purpose for writing. Sometimes only your purpose keeps you going!

How have your personal experiences affected your writing? 
My personal experiences 100% influence and define my writing! I am in anything I have written and will write.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying? 
I had a solid offer earlier, but it took me 3 years to find the right publisher.

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version? 
I don’t dare answer this question, especially after messing up the first one!

Do you write in your PJ's? 
Only if I have them on when I write, but I don’t normally change into them to write ;)

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing? 
Both. It depends on where I am when the creativity starts to flow. Overall I prefer the laptop.

What is your favorite quotation? 
“If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires.” Malcolm Gladwell

What is your favorite cereal? 
I plead the 5th. If anyone says it’s Fruity Pebbles I will deny it.

If you were a crayon what color would you be? 
Pale White no doubt

Do you prefer summer or winter?
Summer!

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year? 
Be in the best physical condition I’ve EVER been in in spite of having my back fused to start the year.

The world would be a better place if . . .? 
It’s simple…if people were more patient with one another and NEVER forgot that people matter most!

What is something you've always wanted to try? 
Drive on the Nürburgring in Germany. 



Diving with Hammerhead Sharks would be swell too.






Waterskiing

Seeing his book at a bookstore for the first time


Michael and his family at Mt. Rushmore

The Snapp boys

The Snapp Girls

Michael and his wife Kimmie

Michael is a huge bike rider

At the Provo Temple Groundbreaking Ceremony

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Michelle Jefferies


From the Western bracket comes the skilled C. Michelle Jefferies



If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why?
I’d love to be the female lead of my next book. Her name is Lyris. She’s strong, a sword master, and a feisty red head. Definitely her.

If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
I think I’d love to author a book with Melissa Marr, she has such a subtle descriptive talent. I’d love to learn how she does it. I also love her character Niall. I’d love to talk to her for a long moment. 






How many hours do you spend on writing a day?
I try to write or edit for about three hours a day. Some days I get six, some days I get none so it all eventually evens out. When I am drafting I usually try to write every day but Sunday.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Learn your grammar and how to write fiction. It’s completely different than writing an essay for school. Also, develop a thick skin, you’re going to get critiques and edits. Let them teach you how to be a better writer rather than a reflection on you.

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
Well I’m not an assassin or even as athletic as my heroes are. But I am passionate about the idea that a bad boy can become a good guy. And I believe that good can conquer all. My writing reflects that.
My hubby does have some interesting real life experiences that I take and use in my books. There’s a scene in the next book Latent that actually happened. Honestly, it almost sounds too good to be true.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?
It took at least eight years. I have always written stories, but from the moment I decided to write to get published it took me eight years to learn how to really write and to get something polished enough to get it published. Then the actual search for a publisher took a few of those eight years too.

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
Maybe “The Princess Bride” ? Probably because some of the parts in the book that didn’t make it into the Movie went on a little long. I loved the book too. 







Do you write in your PJ's?
Some days yes. Most days I feel I have a better day if I am dressed and presentable before my day starts.

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing?
My laptop.  I do have an Alphasmart Neo for when I’m traveling. Amazing little thing.

What is your favorite quotation?
My son used to watch Jurascic Park all the time. He was obsessed with things with sharp teeth. In the scene where the T-Rex pushes the car over the embankment into the tree the little kid says “Well we’re back in the car again.” And Grant says, “Well, at least you’re out of the tree.” That is my theme saying. At least I’m out of the tree. 





What is your favorite cereal?
Funny, I could tell you my main characters favorite cereal, which is Frosted Flakes. But not mine? Hmmmm. I’d have to say Honeycomb.

If you were a crayon what color would you be?
Bold, bright, and warm orange. Like a pumpkin.

Do you prefer summer or winter?
Winter. I love snow and staying in the house with hot apple cider and reading or writing. Summer is the season of heat and bugs and pollen. Uck!

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
I want to finish a few edits on some really amazing books and write an urban fantasy that is looking really complicated.

The world would be a better place if . . .?
People remembered to be nice to each other and use manners.

What is something you've always wanted to try?
It’s a toss up between ballroom dancing with my sweet hubby, and jewelry making, like making molds and pouring your own silver.  


Michelle at the book launch for Emergence


Michelle and her husband, Vince at their daughter's high school graduation

Michelle's adorable family on Easter Morning

The Family at Crystal Geyser