Author Interviews

* you can find the original interviews and much more on my 'everything writing' blog (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com), including author spotlights, guest posts, book reviews, flash fiction or poetry - new items posted 6am UK time Monday to Saturday and writing exercises at 6pm very weekday.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Author interview no.85: Dale Mayer (revisited)


Back in August 2011, I interviewed author Dale Mayer for my WordPress blog. I hope you enjoy it...
Welcome to the eighty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today's is with multi-genre author Dale Mayer. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here.
Morgen: Hello Dale. How did you come to be a writer?
Dale: The concept of writing a novel sat in the back of my mind for a long time.  As a technical writer, it was a natural next step for a creative sort like I am.
Morgen: :) What genre do you generally write?
Dale: I'm a multi-genre author.  I currently write both nonfiction and fiction. In fiction, I write romantic suspense, with and without paranormal elements and young adult novels in the following genres – urban fantasy, fantasy, mystery, paranormal, contemporary.
Morgen: My goodness, you weren’t kidding… and all very popular genres. :) What have you had published to-date?
Dale: I have three non-fiction books up in various places as they cover such topics as mortgages, resume writing, and gardening.  Of my fiction, my first romantic suspense with paranormal is now available as is my first young adult, an urban fantasy.
Morgen: Yay! How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Dale: I spend hours a day working on marketing myself and my work.  As I write in so many areas, having a 'brand' is not something I find easy to do.
Morgen: In my experience, agents and publishers do like an author to stick to one genre because readers like to what sort of book to expect when they pick up a particular author (which is why the likes of Ruth Rendell and Joanna Trollope go with pseudonyms, Barbara Vine and Caroline Harvey respectively, for their offshoot genres). Going off at a tangent a little, have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
Dale: The most famous contest that I'm known for is the Kensington Brava Romantic Times contest this spring where my paranormal romance Tuesday's Child made the Final Four.
Morgen: Well done. I bet you were chuffed. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Dale: I don't have an agent.  Given the state of the industry right now, I don't think agents are vital any more.  They can be a huge asset if you have a good one, however, they can kill your career if you have the wrong one.
Morgen: I think some agents are justifiably worried, with some becoming publishers. I mentioned pseudonyms earlier, do you use any for your writing?
Dale: No. I write in many genres and couldn't begin to find the time promote more than one person.
Morgen: That’s a point. I stick with the one too. :) Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Dale: Most of my books are available in ebook form.  I enjoy reading ebooks and am glad to see my books available to the wider audience.
Morgen: I have that to look forward to. What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
Dale: My resume book is the first book I sold and that never grows old!
Morgen: :) Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Dale: I've had loads of rejections just like every author!  In the beginning it was hard, now it's something I've had a lot of experience with, and find it much less distressing.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Dale: I'm working on more YA books. Vampire in Denial (Book 1 of Blood Ties) was released August 1st.  I'm working on the revisions for book 2 and am writing book 2 of Dangerous Designs, my YA urban fantasy that is already up.  Hide'n Go Seek, which is Book 2 of my Psychic Visions series has been pushed back to an early September release.  I have a novella due for the end of August and have a short story in an Anthology called Entangled that is being released early September. All proceeds from that sale are going to Breast Cancer.
Morgen: Ooh, I LOVE short stories. :) You sound as busy as me (and probably every other writer reading this), do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Dale: I write or revise something every day unless I'm taking a day off to be with the family.  My highest word count in a day is just under 10,000 words.  I average 2,500 – 3,000 words a day normally.
Morgen: Wow, that’s some going. What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Dale: I don't suffer from writer's block.  I write as a business so it's less an emotional ride.  If I have trouble writing, it's usually because I don't feel like writing – not because I don't have anything to write.
Morgen: Ah, yes I bet it makes a difference when you’re relying on your sales. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Dale: I get an idea, work out one or two major plot points, then I run with it.
Morgen: Yeah, I'm pretty similar. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Dale: Nope.  No method. The characters are real to me.  That makes it easy to make them believable.
Morgen: And don't they like to take charge. :) Who is your first reader – who do you first show your work to?
Dale: My daughter steals all my YA books as I work page by page. She steals it after every revision as well so she can keep up with the changes.  Every YA author should have a 14 year old in their home!  When it comes to my romantic suspense books, I have several friends that read it after the book is done.
Morgen: It must be great having someone so enthusiastic, and hopefully they give you good feedback. I have no 14 year olds (although my neighbour has teenagers) so I don't feel qualified or have a good enough memory to remember my own teens but I'm writing so many adult genres that I don't have time... maybe when I win the lottery or catch up on eBook sales (it would help if I launched them - hoping to c. September/October) with Mr Konrath, Miss Hocking and co. :) Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Dale: My writing is improving all the time, but I write fast and my first draft is rough.  I do several runs through and improve the draft each time.
Morgen: I find the same and do three or four drafts tops. What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Dale: A million things – all unrelated to my writing.  I'm a single parent and my life is crazy busy.  When I sit down to write, I shift gears, leave my 'normal' life behind and move into the 'creative' world.
Morgen: I have no children and my life is also crazy busy. :) Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
Dale: I write on the computer, but I revise on paper copy.
Morgen: Me too, unless I’m out and about and can’t take my laptop with me (I have a MacBook Air so that doesn’t happen very often… unless it’s walking the dog or to/from the day job). :) What sort of music do you listen to when you write?
Dale: This is funny, but I watch action movies when I write my romantic suspense books.  However, when I write YA, I tend to prefer silence.
Morgen: You’re right, that is funny. I can’t concentrate with vocal music (i.e. non classic) when I’m trying to create my own let alone another screen with words and action. I take my hat off to you as I have a bloated Sky+ planner waiting for me (Dexter, Book Show, Mad Dogs, Luther, Case Histories etc etc). :) What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Dale: I write in 3rd person, and don't like writing in either of the others.
Morgen: Just as well that third person is the most popular pov. :) Agents have seriously gone off first person (I found that out when presenting a 105,000 word chick lit) and I don’t think they’ve ever liked second person (which I love). Do you use prologues / epilogues? What do you think of the use of them?
Dale: I have used prologues, but haven't as yet used epilogues. I think they are required in some cases, but tend to be overused in fiction.
Morgen: I saw the final part of Harry Potter recently and have to say that the epilogue did feel rather flat but it was good to have a (spoiler alert) happy ending. :) Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Dale: Interesting question.  I'm not sure that I do.  I don't have any unfinished pieces and I think anything can be edited.
Morgen: Oh wow, you’re lucky. I have LOADS… and I mean LOADS! But then most were written months / years ago so probably just need an edit with my now-wiser brain. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Dale: Making the changes from my red lined hard copy onto the computer copy of the book.  It's tedious and time consuming.
Morgen: I find that but still prefer to edit on paper. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Dale: Keep on writing.  The best way to improve is to write more.
Morgen: It is (see earlier comment re. wiser brain). What do you like to read?
Dale: I read an eclectic mix of works, from YA, to suspense, mysteries and romance of all kinds.
Morgen: Which is why you write a mix. :) In which country are you based and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Dale: I'm in Canada and write for the US market mostly.  That can cause confusion, slow my marketing efforts and sometimes give people the wrong impression of my work.
Morgen: And where can we find out about you and your work?
Dale: I have a website (http://www.dalemayer.com) have an author page at Amazon.com, blog every second Friday at http://www.magicalmusings.com and have a presence on many other sites like http://www.omnilit.com or http://www.allromanceebooks.com.
Morgen: Ooh, some new ones to me, thanks for that. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Dale: I think for the first in a long time, the market is wide open and opportunities are everywhere.  If you want to be a writer, this is probably the best time ever to be one.
Morgen: I agree totally and am on the eBook ladder (all written, some edited, one in the with-editor-to-edit stage with two more to tweak before they go to her). Do you have an extract of your writing you’d like to include?
Dale: This is the blurb from Tuesday's Child.
Morgen: Ooh, great (and I love the cover). :)
What she doesn’t want... is exactly what he needs.
Shunned and ridiculed all her life for something she can’t control, Samantha Blair hides her psychic abilities and lives on the fringes of society. Against her will, however, she’s tapped into a killer—or rather, his victims. Each woman’s murder, blow-by-blow, ravages her mind until their death releases her back to her body. Sam knows she must go to the authorities, but will the rugged, no-nonsense detective in charge of tracking down the killer believe her?
Detective Brandt Sutherland only trusts hard evidence, yet Sam’s visions offer clues he needs to catch a killer. The more he learns about her incredible abilities, however, the clearer it becomes that Sam’s visions have put her in the killer’s line of fire. Now Brandt must save her from something he cannot see or understand…and risk losing his heart in the process.
As danger and desire collide, passion raises the stakes in a game Sam and Brandt don’t dare lose.
Morgen: A great duo… I like that. :) And I really enjoyed ‘Medium’ although Alison DuBois is married in that so no potential love interest like in yours (unless I’m way off).
Dale Mayer writes romantic suspense, with or without paranormal elements like TUESDAY'S CHILD (2011) and now young adult books in various genres like DANGEROUS DESIGNS (2011). Writing stabilizes her in a life gone wild! The other stabilizers? Cheesecake and her four cats! Of course, she's dreaming to think she'll get a piece cheesecake once her four kids find out she's been baking!
Morgen: Mandarin cheesecake was the only good thing I remember about secondary school. :) Thank you Dale.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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