Matthew Gomez NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a spec fic writer living in Maryland. I’ve had work featured on the Dark Futures website in the past (see especially the Burned Lands series), as well as Phase 2 magazine. Most recently, I co-launched a new pulp magazine, Broadswords and Blasters that is currently three issues strong. The website also features a weekly article covering different aspects of “pulp” fiction and its descendants.

I’m also a participating podcaster for the Hollow9ine brand, mostly for “What Am I Watching?!”

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?
I’ve attempted and completed NaNoWrimo twice now. Once was back around 2002, where I wrote a fantasy piece, and last year when I wrote a cyberpunk novel. Both times were a slog, but I definitely feel like I ended up with a more complete manuscript the second time around. Not saying that it’s perfect by any stretch, but its less “better off at the bottom of a desk drawer worthy.”

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

I decided not to participate this year in NaNoWrimo as I’ve got a few other projects on the fire that I really should be paying attention to. I’ve two separate serials I’m working on (both fantasy based), as well as working on an outline for a dark space opera novel that I plan to tackle in full in 2018. 


How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

The best advice I can give is set your goals and keep to them. End of the day, you are only competing against yourself to see if you can churn out the words. And that’s the other thing. It is all about word count. NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing the best words, but just getting words down. If you can’t think of the exact word you are looking for? Jot down a word close to it. Getting hung up on a scene? Put in brackets and say something like [Infodump about history of molecular disintegrators goes here]. The ideal word goal is 1,667 a day. If you can, pad that out to 2,000 a day. November comes with enough built in distractions that it can be damn hard to write every day for the thirty days. Give yourself some wriggle room. 

That said, intertia is also a thing. The more days you spend not writing, the harder it is to get going again. Likewise, the more days in a row you set out to write, the easier it gets. View it as an endurance test. You have to pace yourself.

Final piece of advice? End your writing for the day with a question to be answered. Stop writing in the middle of a scene, not the end of one. That will help you when you go back and have to keep writing. Rather than having to start by establishing a scene, you start your day by finishing a scene, answering a question. Stay curious about your own writing, and don’t get frustrated when it seems to be going off the rails. 


If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

The best way to do that is at my blog at mxgomez.wordpress.com. They can also follow me on twitter at @mxgomez78. 


Is there anything else you’d like to add?

When you’re done with your first draft, let it sit for a month (at least) before going back to edit. Give yourself some space from it. The holidays are stressful enough without looking at a manuscript you belched forth in a month. 

Be A Part Of Our 2017 NaNoWriMo Interviews

Long time readers may remember back in 2015 we published a series of interviews with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) participants. While we didn’t get around to repeating that in 2016, we’d like to bring it back for this year.

These interviews will be much the same as before. They will focus on a writer’s motivation and methods for tackling the event, with some attention given to advice for those who may wish to participate in the future.

If you are a writer and would like to answer some questions for us, get in touch on social media or send an email to editor(at)DarkFuturesFiction.net.

NaNoWriMo Interviews 2015 Recap

This year, throughout the month of November and going into early December, we published 16 interviews with writers, asking them a bit about themselves and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). On some days, we published more than one interview. In case you missed any, here is a complete list with links:

Drew Avera
Jonathan Bergeron
Carol Gyzander
Axel Kohagen
Anna L. Davis
Amanda L. Baker
Dawn Chapman
JJ Shelton
Daniel Moore
Cheryce Clayton
Jeffery Cook
Vanessa Knipe
Jane Lebak
Rebekah Raymond
JL Sarchet
Christina L. Rozelle

You can download all of these interviews in one convenient PDF here.

Did you enjoy reading these interviews? Would you like us to make these interviews an annual thing? Are there any of these writers you’d like us to have back for a more personalized interview? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

Christina L. Rozelle NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a mom of four and Dallas, Texas native, and author of the bestselling Treemakers Trilogy. I love chocolate, coffee, Daryl Dixon, and yoga pants, and daydream constantly about end-of-the-world scenarios.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

My first time attempting NaNoWriMo was in 2013 when I wrote the first version of “The Treemakers.” I won that year and am still paying for it! I scrapped that story and rewrote it from scratch, publishing it a year later on Dec. 3, 2014. It’s sequel, The Soultakers, was just published Dec. 3, 2015.

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

I was busy prepping The Soultakers for publication so I didn’t participate this year, though I would’ve liked to.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

When I participated in 2013 I kept a calendar in front of me and a big red sharpie. Each day I hit my word count I crossed out that day with a gigantic red X. Once you see a string of these you don’t want to “break the chain” so you keep pushing harder. It seems simple but it works. I’ve heard famous authors and celebrities mention using this method, including Jerry Seinfeld. You just write every day, no matter what. Put those headphones on to drown out the background noise if you need to. Lock yourself in an attic or cellar. Threaten those around you with wet noodle-whippings if they disturb you—things of that nature. You have to be on the verge of obsession to complete this insane challenge. You have to ask yourself this: How bad do I want it? And you have to go to any lengths it takes to hit that word count every day, word-slinging-ninja beast-mode style.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

Here are all of the places you can find me and my work around the web:
“The Treemakers” on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015DC4Q5E/

“The Treemakers” on Audible: http://amzn.to/1EZvvlP

“The Soultakers” on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1O7Sn0o

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1HYTjRo
“The Rozelle Army” Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/68sS9
Wattpad: http://w.tt/1GW0lW2
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1f4Km1u
The Treemakers on ifList: http://bit.ly/1QYc7a6
Google+: http://bit.ly/1Kua9Mb
A Spark in the Dark Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1JSEmWz
The Fansite of Christina L. Rozelle: http://christinalrozelle.com/
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/cl.rozelle

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/clrozellesouth
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CLRozelle (@CLRozelle)
Instagram: christina.l.rozelle
Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/user/christinalrozelle

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thetreemakers/

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Aspiring writers might like to check out my blog for writers, A Spark in the Dark. There you’ll find tons of tidbits of insight and pearls of wisdom (and plenty of shenanigans) from my journey to becoming a self-published author, and beyond.
A Spark in the Dark Blog: http://bit.ly/1NmGJQl

Thanks so much for having me!

JL Sarchet NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the moment, I’m living in South Korea and teaching English as a Foreign Language to middle school students. During the day, I teach academic writing, but my passion is storytelling. In my spare time I write speculative fiction novels.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

I have done NaNoWriMo every year since 2006 and have managed to cross that 50,000 word mark each time. Each year I start strong, get distracted by life for most of the month, and then spend a hellish weekend pounding out the rest of the novel. This is my tenth attempt and I hope it will be my tenth win.

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

Although I am not new to NaNo, I am new to writing science fiction and especially cyberpunk. I’m pantsing my way through the first draft of a novel about cyborg boxers who take on a fight against the corrupt corporation that sponsors them (after they stumble across a deep, dark secret, of course!) and I’m having a great time learning more about boxing.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

My job keeps me a bit too busy during the week to hit the recommended 1667 on a daily basis. In fact, most years I would let several days go by without writing a word, but often had trouble getting back into the flow of the story. I would say that this year, my focus can be attributed to two things: I set a minimum word count of 100 words a day. That’s it. I usually tapped it out on my morning bus ride using Evernote on my phone. It kept the story fresh and moving forward AND it gave me a sense of accomplishment. And even if I didn’t write another word that day, I had reached my personal goal. I can silence my inner editor. Believe me when I say as an English teacher, it can be difficult look at a passage filled with typos, spelling mistakes, grammar mishaps, and missing quotation marks. For the pace required to finish NaNoWriMo, I have to be able to ignore it. When I write I literally mutter to myself, “You can fix it. Later.” That ‘later’ part is the key. On December 1st, I can switch into search and destroy mode. If I could offer any advice to someone attempting NaNo it would mirror the two things I mentioned above. 1) Find a way to keep your story moving forward, no matter how slowly. Chip away at it. And 2) DO. NOT. EDIT. Turn off the inner editor and just get the story on the page. You don’t have time to doubt yourself. Write.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

Right now, the best way to track me down is via the Writerpunk facebook group. I’m currently working on a few submissions for the anthologies produced by Writerpunk Press, all of which are classic stories reimagined with cyberpunk elements.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yes. If there is anyone out there who has taken on the challenge and thinks that they can’t make a huge comeback in a short amount of time, just know that it is possible. I’m in the final weekend of NaNoWriMo. I have over 22,000 words to write but only 50 hours (at the time of this writing) to do it in. Normally this amount of work and this deadline should cause panic. And if I didn’t already know I can close the gap and cross the finish line, I would really be freaking out right now.

You’ve got to keep fighting for it. Pour another cup of coffee and keep writing. You can sleep in December. Or, if you’re as caffeinated as I am, January.

 

Rebekah Raymond NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada. I am married to my high school sweetheart, and we have two children together. I am a creative, an artist, writer, and author. I thrive on music and written word, read obsessively, and have many eclectic interests. I have my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, have worked in both professional and artists endeavours, and pride myself on always growing, always learning.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

I tried NaNoWriMo for the first time November 2014. I joined late, November 10, and by the 18th I still had 30,000 words to go. But, I succeeded with the help of many late nights. I also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo since then (and completed them successfully)

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

This November I am working on starting Book Four of my Life’s Series. As well, I am continuing to work on the novella which is the backstory of one of the beloved characters from Book One. They are thrillers, bordering on horror in some ways, although based on what has been written so far I think a romance classification may need to be considered in there as well. They hint to science fiction as well, with a dystopian aspect to a world in the future.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

This year has been especially difficult to stay on track. But, I am trying to stick to a writing schedule, so that I don’t fall too far behind. For anyone wanting to try NaNoWriMo I have two different sets of advice. 1) for those wanting to attempt and be successful with a 50,000 word count: try to stick to the suggested 1667 or more words per day. This will ensure you don’t fall too far behind. 2) for those who simply want to try it and aren’t too concerned about meeting the word count goal: just have fun. Struggling to meet the 50,000 words can be daunting sometimes and it is often near the finish line that writers give up, thinking there is no way they can do it. Here’s the thing – whether you write 3,000 words or 85,000, you are winning. All because you have picked up that pen and paper, tablet, phone, laptop, and started to write. And that’s what NaNoWriMo is all about.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorRebekahRaymond
Twitter: @RRaymondAuthor
Website: http://rebekahraymond.com

Life’s Defeat (Life’s Series: Book One) Purchase links
Amazon (available through all amazon stores): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014CJ0BBW
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/life-s-defeat
In Canada – paperback purchase: http://www.owlsnestbooks.com/
or through my website (above)

Jane Lebak NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Jane Lebak. I write books and I knit socks. Not at the same time. I’m also one of the bloggers for Querytracker.net, a resource for writers seeking agents.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo twice before this year and after both experiences I swore not to do it again. I was able to get my 50,000 words in November, but at the expense of being able to complete the book at all. I’ve learned I need to take a “literary pause” every so often to gather my emotional strength to keep writing, and if I can’t do that, I’ll hit my word count but will start to burn out. I did it in 2005 and 2006 but didn’t finish either of those books until this year. (They’re both published now.) While I have no problems doing 100K in 90 days, 50K in 30 days was just too quick for me. This year, though, something changed.

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

My WIP for Nano this year is a book in the Seven Archangels series. It takes place about twenty years after the events in Sacred Cups, but it stands alone if you didn’t read the previous books. The archangels have learned that the demons are developing a new weapon, so they infiltrate Hell to find out what it is. They end up accidentally setting it off, leaving two of the angels and one of the demons disabled. Now they need to figure out what that weapon was and what it did in order to reverse the process, and to prevent the enemy from setting it off again.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

What’s different this year about Nanowrimo is that I’m now a full-time writer with all my kids in school during the daytime. I’ve given myself permission not to hit my word count on the days where I need to do that “literary pause” thing. What I’m doing now is making sure I enter at least some words every day, but on days when I need to relax, I’ll do only a couple hundred. On other days, though, I’ll go to 2500 or 3000 in order to give myself the cushion so I can take those days off when I need them. So far, it’s working. I couldn’t have done this before when I had children on top of me all day long, so that just goes to show that writing has seasons and sometimes we need to lower our expectations based on our life duties.

If you want to do NaNoWriMo, I think you need to know what your own limits are and figure out in advance how to work around them. Build them into your actual writing plan as needs rather than blithely hoping everything will just line up. Budget for your own weaknesses, whatever they are. If you’ve never written a book before, and you don’t know what your writing weaknesses might be, then just focus on putting words down. They don’t have to be good: they just have to be written. You can clean up that draft afterward.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

I’ve got a neglected website at http://www.janelebak.com, but my books are available at http://amazon.com/author/janelebak. I’m on twitter at http://twitter.com/janelebak and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/JaneLebakAuthor

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Be gentle on yourself and remember that NaNoWriMo is an arbitrary goal. There’s nothing magical about 50K in 30 days. If you have to slow down or back off in order to protect your story, remember that your story is more valuable than hitting a goal that doesn’t matter anyhow. Give yourself permission to fail, keeping in mind that 30,000 words or 20,000 words is hardly a failure. It’s a great start, and you just need to find your own ideal pace to finish your novel.

 

Vanessa Knipe NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a widow with an Autistic teenage son. I had to take to writing when my husband was killed because I couldn’t work night shifts at the NHS with a toddler. I have six published books, 4 with a US indie publisher and 2 with a UK indie publisher.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

I have participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2007. I have succeeded each year.

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

I am writing the 4th book in my Six book space saga. Two great theocracies of Genetically Modified Humans fight over the crumbling remains of the Congress of Human Colonised Worlds. In book 4 a world hit by a planetbuster, which sets off every volcano on the planet, is colonised by the GM humans designed to live in those extreme conditions. The other theocracy of GM humans seeks to drive the colonists from the planet.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

I insist on writing at least 2000 words every day in November. I put a song with a pounding, racing beat on repeat and my fingers move in time to the rhythm. If anyone wanted to attempt NaNoWriMo, I would suggest finding a group on social media who can groan along with you and encourage you when you are down.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

My website.
My facebook page.  
My amazon page.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

NaNoWriMo is a great way to get a first draft out. Writing is a lonely business but for November you have company and encouragement.

Jeffery Cook NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Boulder, Colorado, settled down in the Seattle area a decade or two ago, and in between lived all over the U.S. and Canada. My wife, our housemate, and I have three large dogs. They’re rescues from a PAWS animal shelter, now the beneficiaries of the charity anthologies I’m heading up with Writerpunk Press.

I’m the author of the alternate-history/Emergent Steampunk epistolary series Dawn of Steam along with a YA Fantasy series, a YA sci-fi thriller, and a decidedly not-YA urban fantasy.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

This is my 7th NaNoWriMo. I’ve succeeded in the word-count goal every time, though I haven’t always published the results. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as dramatic as my first, in 2009. My editor-now-turned-co-writer loves to go on about how much I lost sleep and turned off the more grammatical parts of my brain to write the rough drafts of the Dawn of Steam trilogy.

Each year, I have appreciated how supportive the Seattle-area NaNoWriMo community and the international community have been.

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

This year’s primary NaNo project (I’m actually multi-tasking on a few stories) is A Fair Fight, the third book of my YA Fantasy series, the Fair Folk Chronicles. The first, Foul is Fair, was released this year, and the second, Street Fair, is coming out in January.

Having seen our ADHD Faerie Princess through adventures involving two of the Four Treasures of Ireland in two Lost Cities on two holidays (Halloween and the Summer Solstice), my co-writer Katherine and I are working on sending her questing after another in time for May Day of her senior year of high school. Throughout the series, we’ve tried to go a little beyond Celtic mythology into world folklore, particularly touching on Hawaiian menhune, but A Fair Fight is our opportunity to really broaden things a little.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

This time around, I’m just trying to find some calm within the general storm of marketing six books and the charity anthologies while living in a noisy house. I do a lot of my writing in the wee hours of morning when everyone else in the house has gone to bed.
There are several important things to remember to get through NaNoWriMo.

One is that, as the late Sir Terry Pratchett said, the first draft is just you telling yourself the story.  Another is to make sure to find the time to write every day, even if some days you can only manage a little while. Another is to set relaxation rewards for after you’ve gotten some writing done.

One particular caution is not to worry too much about how everyone else is doing. The community motivation of NaNo is great, but there’s no point dwelling on the people who are faster or may just have more time on their hands. It’s your own goal that matters.

And in the end, have fun with it.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

www.clockworkdragon.net is a great consortium of speculative fiction writers with whom I’m involved.

My official author facebook is www.facebook.com/dawnofsteamtrilogy, but my personal account is easily found for friending through things like the Writerpunk community. Writerpunk also has a site at www.punkwriters.com

My amazon author page is  http://www.amazon.com/Jeffrey-Cook/e/B00IRMC3H6/
www.authorjeffreycook.com is having longterm update and coding issues, but should be fixed eventually.

And on Twitter, @jeffreycook74

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Once More Unto the Breach: Shakespeare Goes Punk 2 is coming out at the beginning of December. It is the follow up to this spring’s Sound & Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk. In the first anthology, alongside colleagues with a Cyberpunk Macbeth and a Dieselpunk Othello, Katherine and I did our Steampunk version of “The Winter’s Tale,” with 500% more being pursued by a bear. For Once More… we did more dieselpunk adaptations. Katherine helped me write “Dogs of War,” a Mad-Max-like rendition of “Julius Caesar,” and I helped her write an “As You Like It” with an alternate-Dust-Bowl twist.

All profits go to PAWS. The first anthology has been used to fund a large dog kennel for a year, and we hope to double that next year.

Cheryce Clayton NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

Cheryce Clayton, writer

Oh, more?

I once named a company PoshRat, it means half-blood and out of culture in Romani. I can remember my great grandfather speaking Choctaw, I’ve spent more years living on Reservations than off, I speak a few words, I go to a couple of PowWows a year, and I know how to bead. And yet I always feel like I’m on the outside looking at a circle of old friends gathered around a fire, not quite sure how to join in and feeling too tall to blend in.

As a writer?

I am not defined as a writer by the facts that that I am a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, that I have spent my life as a trans / bi-sexual woman, that I write speculative fiction, horror, and erotica, that I live with chronic pain, or that I am a survivor of violence.

I am defined as a writer by the stories I write and my first book Obligations is a gender confused story of crossed cultures and the myths of childhood that haunt and hold us back, my webcomic Tales from the Zombpocalypse: Living in the Quarantine Zone starts seven years after the hyped zombie apocalypse as life goes on in a new normal, and the story LowRez is as much a coming of age tale on a future Reservation as my attempt to look forward and project the current Idle No More stand into the cultural vanishing point.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

Last year was my first NaMo. Yes. The Quiet Ones is at the copy editor right now and I’m planning on a January release.

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

I wanted to write two separate novellas, but it’s looking like the first project is going to go long. Surviving the Trans-Human Mechaphilia Riots is a mystery noir / cyberpunk story about a beat up old Marine turned gumshoe trying to solve a murder before he gets murdered with a bit of tastefully written erotica thrown in. It’s a straight line plot /1st person POV which is a challenge for me as I usually write complex head hopping plots with multiple flashbacks.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

I have a dedicated writing time 5 days a week. Just write. The difference between a pro and a dreamer is typing The End, everything else can be fixed in the edit.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

http://www.amazon.com/Cheryce-Clayton/e/B00O07C20K/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

https://sixpointpress.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/cheryceclayton/

https://www.facebook.com/TalesfromtheZombieApocalypse/

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I have a bit of a canned rant about NaMo; as a ghost writer, several of my past contracts have been people who finished a NaMo novel, bragged it up to friends, and then paid to get it rewritten into something readable.  I’ve also seen too many newer writers give up on writing when they perceived themselves as a failure for not completing 50K words on schedule.  NaMo is a good tool for learning and reinforcing good writing habits but its just a tool and if it doesn’t work for you that doesn’t  mean anything bad about you. Scribner doesn’t work for me, but it’s a great tool for others.

My webcomic TZA: Living in the Quarantine Zone will be restarting soon – go catch up on the backstory!