Sunday, August 18, 2013

Author profile - Deborah Nam-Krane

Hey all!  Welcome to our first author profile!
Our first author profile is with -- Deborah Nam-Krane

And so without further blabber from me, on to the questions and Deborah's answers.

1 - When did you first start writing?

When I was eight, but I didn't have something in my hands until I was eleven. I was a late bloomer.

2 - Do you read much?  If yes, have you always loved reading?

I read A LOT now, in part because I'm also a book reviewer (over a decade on Amazon, and now also on my blog). I hated reading until I was about nine, and then something clicked. It was that summer that I discovered Nancy Drew, Greek mythology- and Archie comic books. I've had something ambitious to read ever since.

3 -  Who’s your favorite author?  What’s your favorite book?

I am the same way about authors as I am about musical acts: sometimes I love their stuff, sometimes I can't stand it. I think A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is one of the best things ever written, but The Old Curiosity Shoppe made me roll my eyes. If I have to choose, Nathaniel Hawthorne- I love his novels and I love his short stories. But if I can have two then I love the graphic novelist George O'Connor like a drug. (Did I mention he writes about mythology?)

My favorite book... again, mythology nut that I am, it would have to be Roberto Calasso's The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. One of the best books I have ever read.

4 - What writers have influenced you the most?

In a weird way, Camille Paglia through her book Sexual Personae. I had thought before I read it that if I wanted to write I had to tell stories in a certain way, but through her book I saw that it was not only possible but desirable to make my characters as multi-layered as possible.

5 - Do you have a favorite fictional character?  Either from a book or movie or a tv show?

Right now? Olivia Pope on Scandal. Yes, she's super powerful, smart and caring, but she's also willing to go to the mat and take great risks to protect the people she cares about. Here's hoping people will say the same about my female characters.

6 - What are you working on right now?  Can you tell us something about it?

As of this writing, I am putting the finishing touches on my second release. The editing is done- I think!- and by the grace of god I managed to format everything. Now I'm wondering about what links I need to add, whether to add a section bringing readers from the first book up to speed, etc.

I've also just started editing the third book in the series. I'll let you know as soon as I'm done!

7 - Is there anything in particular that you do to get in the mood to write, or to get in the ‘zone’?  Any particular pre-writing routines?

It's really important that I not be too tired, and in general it's a good idea for me to keep up my Pilates and yoga practices. If nothing else, taking away the little aches and pains removes a distraction, and teaching myself to focus and relax also helps me get to my zone more quickly.

But really, if you give me a chunk of time and my computer, I can pretty easily go as needed.

8 - Where do you do your writing?

Anywhere I can comfortably sit for an extended period of time without too much noise.

9 - How do you approach your writing?  i.e. - Do you do outlines?  Character bios?  Etc.?

I have a very clear picture of who each character is before I start writing, and I know how the story begins and ends and most of the highlights in the middle. I plan out pretty thoroughly, but I still leave room for surprises my characters might throw at me. Having said that, even if you know where the story begins, you might not always know where the book begins. It's very important, I think, to take care where you start the book and what you tell in or out of sequence.

10 - Do you have any advice for other writers?

I never suffer from writer's block because I always just keep writing no matter what comes out. My feeling has always been that it's easier to edit out garbage later than it is to stare at a blank page.

11 - Are you a morning person or evening person?  Day or night?

Definitely a morning person- and definitely not a coffee person. Tea for me, if anything.

12 - Do you have any pets?

No! First of all, I live in a very small space with my four children. Second of all I'm allergic. Finally, I'm just not an animal person. I'm a vegan and I don't want to eat animals, but I also don't want to play with them.

13 - What’s your favorite ‘I need a break from writing’ activity?

Listening to music, singing- sometimes even drawing. I think it's important to let certain parts of your brain rest so they can come back fresher later.

14 - How do you approach writing sex scenes?  They can range from mild to wild.  Where are you on the mild to wild meter?

I'm on the mild side, definitely. I don't want to write graphic sex scenes, at all, and most of my books aren't about sex, even if people are having it. I also think using your imagination is much more arousing than people give it credit for.

15 - Do you write in one genre?  Or more than one?

My series is a combination of Chick Lit and Romance, but it also has some strong and important male characters. I have four already written, and I'm planning on bringing them back in a completely different kind of book. Still about relationships, but on a bigger canvas and with more import. With those same characters, I'm also toying with the idea of branching into a middle grade series, but I'm still working on that one.

On a completely different note, I'm also working on a non-fiction book about urban homeschooling on a budget. It's mostly written now, but it still needs a little spiffing before I bring it out.

16 - Are you self-published or with a publishing house?

I am self-published and very happy about that.

17 - What are your thoughts on getting a literary agent?

Not something I'm interested in, but I think it all depends on the agent. Some of them are really wonderful, or so I'm told, and do a lot of work for their clients. If you can get one of those, you should.

18 - What about marketing?  How do you approach that area?

I am constantly re-evaluating my marketing efforts- you have to. What worked really well for someone a year and a half ago might not work for someone else. I think we should all be focused on getting the basics right- a good blog, interaction on social media and a newsletter- but everything else is up in the air. For a long time, enrolling in KDP Select was a no-brainer; now as the number of ebooks increases, maybe it's not. Free offerings, no matter where you are, can also work- but sometimes they'll bomb. Be open to trying things but don't be married to them.

I would say there are two rules: first, network, which is also known as making friends, and share ideas. Second, make sure on social media and your blog that you appeal not only to other writers but also to readers. While our readers might like to see where we're writing or what we're drinking or snacking on while we do so, they probably don't want to hear us talk about our *process*. (Most other writers might not either.) I think most readers do want to hear about where we got our ideas, what our characters are like and hear about the themes behind our stories and why we think they're relevant. I think they also want to hear our thoughts on popular books, especially in our genre or category. But in general they should be spared as much insider baseball as possible.

19 - What about beta readers?  Do you use them?  How many do you have?  Where do you find them?

I do use beta readers, but I think I overused them for my first book. I had something like 8 or 9; when I told a successful indie author I know, I could tell she was thinking, "Are you nuts?" I got a lot of confusing, conflicting feedback. For this second one I "only" used three or four. I did ask some friends and relatives, but I also asked other writers I know- yet another reason why plugging and meeting people is important.

20 - What’s your favorite food?

Right now I am loving my strawberry almond milk smoothies.

21 - What’s your favorite color?

I really can't choose. The closest I come is light green with pink accents.

22 - Is there a particular website or facebook page or blog that you, as a writer, find very helpful?

There are a bunch. I met a lot of people via Fellow Writers on Facebook, and a friend I made on Twitter hooked me into Indie Writers Unite, also on Facebook. A friend from Fellow Writers introduced me to The Official Chick Lit Group, and those writers introduced me to Chick Lit Goddesses. I've found helpful information on all of them.

As far as websites, I've gleaned a lot of useful information from Dear Author and Catherine, Caffeinated.

23 - What’s your favorite time of the year?

Autumn, hands down.

24 - What’s your most recent book about?  And where can people buy it?

My debut novel is The Smartest Girl in the Room, and until September 26th it's available exclusively through Amazon (it will be on Smashwords very shortly after that). It's about a very ambitious college student who's trying to get her degree as quickly as possible for a couple of reasons. The last thing she needs is to fall in love, but that's just what happens when her best friend introduces her to Mitch Graham. But he has to choose between Emily and a trip to Ireland that he's been looking forward to for years, and he doesn't realize until too late that he made the wrong choice. Mitch has to prove to Emily that he's worth a second chance, but she might have a little bit too much to do between working hard at school and protecting her friends to do so.

25 - As a writer, what do you feel is your strongest gift or talent or skill that you have, that helps you the most as a writer?

I've always been told that I write dialogue well, and it's something I enjoy. I think I also set up a mystery pretty well. Everyone who has read my second book was shocked by the ending, but when you look back over it you can see the clues.

26 - Please share some of your links with us - facebook author page, website, where people can find your books --

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