Greetings, favorite booknerds and friends! I have introduced you to a few of my favorite book bloggers in the past so you could potentially find some amazing books to read. In that vein, I want to introduce you to some amazing authors I've gotten to know and have read (at least some, if not all) of their amazing works. Publishing a book is incredibly hard, and time consuming to do it right, let alone getting it into potential readers hands so sharing their books and introducing you to them is the least I can do, especially for a couple of ladies who are not just great story tellers, but who are incredibly fun and have great insights into writing and publishing. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the authors of "Imber" and "Reactive - Tyffany Hackett and Becky Moynihan!
I "met" Tyffany through bookstagram (that's a bunch of book lovers on Instagram) in a round about way, kind of through a friend of a friend, and then she won a contest... I honestly can't remember, but the point is, from those convoluted beginnings I met this talented writer and amazing photographer of all things bookish (and also a big video game nerd, our love for FemShep and Garrus knows no bounds). From there, I got to know a bit of her writing tribe, enter Becky, who I have only just started to get to know, but, who after interviewing, has risen really high in the rankings of my "awesome people to know" list. I had the honor of interviewing these ladies as they embark on a new adventure of writing a book together. So while I can continue gushing about all the things they have done and accomplished, I'll let them tell you more in their own words. Be sure to read to the end to get even more information on these ladies, as well as all the links to follow them on social media, as well as to buy their books (I have had the pleasure of reading "Imber" already and loved it! You can read the full review here).
Tyffany: That’s true! We had talked on and off a bit before, but Hannah (@pagewitch on Instagram) proposed the idea to set up a writing group for NaNoWriMo, and I just tried to help find people who might be interested. :D
Becky: Mommy duck, do-do-do-do-do-do
Tyffany: Are you calling me a quack? ;)
Becky: Never! At least, you’ve never given me a reason to… yet.
Tyffany: Keyword there. Yet. ;)
Tyffany: When we originally started talking about doing a collaboration, we didn’t really have any ideas for anything. But Becky proposed Urban Fantasy, since it was a good middle ground between our debut genres. Thankfully we both seem to really enjoy writing Urban Fantasy too. xD
Becky: Yes, we both LOVE fantasy, and Urban Fantasy is so flexible and ridiculously fun. At the time, we wanted to write something silly and almost light-hearted (since both of our other series can be a bit heavy at times). Well, as what often happens, the characters kind of took over and… it’s a dark Urban Fantasy now. Ha! There’s still silly moments though.
Tyffany: Yeah . . . Both our debut’s are Young Adult and we actually ended up crossing into New Adult territory because of some of the mature topics and situations that happen. Oops?
Tyffany: Yeah, we debated first or third person PoV too (which likely would have ended up with us writing more of the characters more regularly) but I’m actually really glad we ended up doing first person. Not only does it give us a chance to let our individual writing voices shine—and gives our characters more distinct personalities—but you also get to see both protagonist’s emotions and perspectives. Which can be really really crucial to understanding some of the situations, and I think creates a really cool dynamic with perceptions. We do have a really cool rule pertaining to our individual protagonist’s though—if we don’t just write them in the other person’s chapters, we have full allowances to edit or make changes to them. (So if I write Becky’s Tarik into one of my chapters and Becky doesn’t like him, say, giggling—she can go in and change it, and there’s no problem.)
Becky: Tarik doesn’t giggle. Ever.
Tyffany: We’ll see about that. >:)
Becky: Next on my to-do list: make Reagan burp.
Tyffany: She ranks her belches 1-10. >:)
Tyffany: Honestly, I’m a big people watcher, and I tend to be pretty observant. I don’t have a character that’s strictly “this person” but I absolutely steal things from the people I know and interact with. As to events, I definitely lean to the “write what you know” rule. I’ve been through some crazy stuff anyway, so it certainly makes for interesting fiction. xD But, especially since the first two series are in first person, it’s easier for me to write the emotions I know.
Becky: They sure are!! But I won’t tell you who ;) Actually, the main character in my dystopian series is ME but a more kick-butt version. The main male character in our Urban Fantasy projects many emotions that I feel but hardly ever show, yet I am in no way like him. Honestly, I don’t know anyone like him, and that is why I am completely obsessed with him. As for events… I may have created my dystopian world based off some of my college experiences. And that’s all I’ll say. :o
Tyffany: Oooo boy. That would definitely be a sight to behold! xD Let’s see . . . I think Nat would love Reagan, and she’d want to know more about her tattoos. She wouldn’t like Tarik’s temper, for sureeee. Cam would like Reagan a lot, but he’d probably be a bit wary of Tarik. (Until he realized they actually have very similar morals, despite having polar opposite temperaments.) Jyn and Tarik would probably butt heads pretty hard but I think they’d end up being good friends. Their morals are very similar and Jyn can’t pretend he doesn’t know what it’s like to have a temper. xD Meryn loves just about everyone, honestly. They would all fiercely hate Mordecai and Alec though! xD
Becky: I think Bren and Cam would be best buds, awww.
Tyffany: Oh, most definitely!!! I think Nat and Lune would get along too. They could form the ultimate girl squad—Lune, Reagan, Natylia, Meryn, and Nevaeh! :D
Becky: Yeah!! Some fierce females right there.
Becky: Usually all it takes for me to “get back in the groove” is to reread the previous chapter I’ve written. I get a feel for the characters again and can push on. Sometimes breaks are necessary though and I’ll bury myself in a good book for a couple days. But truthfully, when I’m passionate about something, I am extremely self-motivated to finish what I started. “Just do it” is my motto!
Tyffany: Oooo, I should probably add . . . When I’m having a laggy day, or maybe I don’t want to write so much, or I’m particularly distractible, I just ask myself—How bad do I want it? I can make excuses. I’m the queen of procrastinating, if I don’t care enough. But I want to be an author, I want to make a serious career of this. So, on the sluggish days, it’s that simple. How bad do I want it? And I get up, and I do the work. Even if it’s not as much as I would do on a normal day, even if it’s not perfect, I do something. Because I want nothing more for myself than to be able to tell these stories, and my dreams only work if I do.
Tyffany: Ahh . . . it’s hard to pick the most rewarding part! There’s this incredible feeling when you’re holding a book in your hands and you know it’s your book. You did this, with likely very little help, and it’s your story. Exactly how you want it. To see a long-time dream come to fruition is just . . . there’s not words.
That said, I get weepy every single time I get a random message from someone even just saying a particular line made them laugh, or they like a certain character, or they just like my book in general. One of the hardest parts of writing in general is self-doubt, and every tiny little affirmation from a reader is the absolute best gift and reward. My favorite message to date was from someone who said they cried because they saw themself in Nat’s panic attacks and they couldn’t believe there was a character they could relate to so personally. I cried. xD
The most disappointing part, maybe, would be knowing I won’t make everyone happy. I could try, but my work wouldn’t be as good. Still, the people pleaser in me hates that someone might be disappointed in my story or characters.
Tyffany: I have no immediate intentions of attempting to traditionally publish. I might change my mind in the future, but I did a great deal of research prior to making my decision and honestly, I preferred the control offered by the self-publishing route. When it comes to the important decisions—the cover, the formatting, deadlines, pricing—I have absolute control. I earn higher royalties, and I don’t have to pay back an advance. (just the initial production costs, that I set) Marketing expenses are almost exactly the same whichever route you go. Plus I get to write what I want—traditional publishers are notorious for tweaking books to “market” better, which is possibly why I’ve read so many incredibly unique indie books. It was the absolute right choice for me, personally.
Becky: Ditto! If I get offered a deal from one of the 5 top publishers, I may say yes… but I absolutely LOVE having control, mwahaha. And since I can design my own book covers and have marketing experience, I wanted to give self-publishing a go. It’s not for everyone though, to be honest! By nature, I’m a self-starter and go-getter, same with Tyffany. If you struggle to “finish” projects and make decisions, then having a traditional publisher backing you up might be for you.
Tyffany: Oh, yeah I definitely agree with that. If you aren’t able to self-motivate, or multi-task, self-publishing might not be the right fit for you. No one holds you accountable for not finishing your next book, or meeting your release date. I know that for both of us, writing is such a passion career that we don’t too much struggle with that.
Becky: I only struggle to make my fingers type faster.
Tyffany: I don’t have that problem, but I do struggle to make my brain go faster. :P bahaha (it’s the lack of sleep :P )
Becky: My brain won’t be quiet. That’s why I don’t sleep. Ha!
Tyffany: Oh, yeah, that’s a struggle too . . . Character chatter and brain chatter in general.
Tyffany: I have to agree, social media for sure. My writing is light years better because of our writing group, but also because of the other incredible people who beta’d for me. And co-writing with Becky has definitely taught me a lot about my habits, and what I could do better, and what I do well. And I would have never met her without social media!
As to getting my books out in the wild, I’m fairly sure my sales would have been absolutely nothing without the incredible incredible people on (especially) Bookstagram. The likes, the shares, the comments, the encouragement—I would definitely not be doing what I’m doing right now, almost full time, without the amazing people helping support my book. (Thank you guys <3)
Hindrance wise . . . Reviews! They can absolutely make or break an author and they’re SO hard to get! I know my sales vs reviews percentage and they’re very skewed. If you love an author, please please leave them a review. Like Becky mentioned, algorithms are a pain—Amazon practically buries you til you hit a certain number.
Becky: Amen, girl.
Tyffany: Facebook! I honestly just forget to do it. I don’t keep up with Twitter as well as I should either, but I like to think my hyperactivity on Instagram has to count for something. xD
Becky: All of them? Ha! Once upon a time, all I had was Facebook. Now that I keep track of several on a daily basis, I struggle to juggle. People keep saying I should get a Twitter account but, if I did that, I’d probably never have time to write, hehe.
Tyffany: You might! ;) Twitter can be a bit of a sinkhole though. xD
Becky: Still weighing the pros and cons… No, I’m just delaying… forever. ;)
Tyffany: I’ve actually been writing since I was really really young, so I’ve dabbled in writing a TON of different genres. I’m pretty flexible, I like the challenge. Epic fantasy definitely isn’t for everyone xD Creating everything from scratch and making it cohesive can be a pain! I have to agree with the contemporary thing though—I read contemporary that I love, but I don’t think I can drop the fantastical elements enough to write one. xD I love my powers and not-quite-humans too much. ;)
Becky: Ditto! Also “Write what you know” and “Write what hurts.” I took those to heart 100%. Doing so is very therapeutic for me, and also makes my characters real and relatable!
Tyffany: ^^^So much that.
Becky: Don’t think you’re done when you write/type “The End.” That’s just the beginning. If that scares you, then good. You’re not alone, ha! Writing a book is about editing and revising and pruning and taking the advice of others when they say something isn’t working. You get tunnel vision while writing your story, so seek outside perspective. This is a MUST. But most importantly, celebrate the wins, no matter how small. Keep it fun. Writing a story and sharing it with the world is a crazy exciting adventure. And an honor.
Tyffany: Hmmm. Completely rewrite your manuscript, at least once. I’m talking, print it out or open another document, and retype every. single. word. I know that sounds totally crazy, but you really will spot a ton of bigger picture problems and repetitions that you didn’t realize were in your manuscript. Be kind to people who give you constructive criticism, ignore people who just want to tear into you. Take all advice with a grain of salt—if something feels wrong to your story, you don’t have to change it. But know the difference—don’t be so stubborn that you miss an actual problem.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help—there is a thriving writing community on Instagram and inside the Bookstagram community and I highly recommend getting involved on there, even if you’re just there for the incredibly beautiful book pics. ;)
And remember to be grateful—to everyone who helps you along your way, to everyone who cheers from the sidelines, to everyone who reads your story. Be kind. Writers need each other, so much. We are not each others competition, we’re all going through the same thing. Don’t tear your fellow authors and writers apart—lift them up, share your knowledge. Only you can tell your story. No one can take that away from you. So why not help someone else tell theirs?
I can't thank these women enough for taking the time to answer my questions. There were so many instances where I was agreeing with the points they were making, and laughing at their banter. They have such strong personalities that really come through in their writing, that's for sure! I hope you enjoyed getting to know these authors, my friends, and be sure to add them to your TBR list ASAP!
Hello favorite booknerds! If you follow me on Instagram, you saw I recently did a road trip through Oregon with the husband. It was technically for his 30th birthday (which was in June) but he’s been really craving some fall foliage so we pushed the trip back. Now, what does that trip have to do with me/this blog/my writing? It actually ties into the question/pressure of writing every day and the importance of recharging through disconnecting. Allow me to explain.
A lot of big name authors as well as “how to” books on writing and publishing will say you have to write every day, or that you really, really should write every day, because you can’t refine a blank page. And that’s true, you can’t edit or make a blank page better, so forcing yourself to write even when you’re fairly positive the content isn’t where you want it to be, at least gets you moving in that direction. Solid advice, right? Well, yes, usually. Waiting to write only when you “feel inspired” is not the best way to go about things in my opinion. Inspiration can be like lightning, sure, but more often that’s used as a feel-good excuse for writers block, which is something I just have to work through by writing (I’ll cover that in another blog post). However, there is SO MUCH MORE that goes into a book than just the physical act of writing, and those things take time and deserve just as much attention as well.
Some days, writing just isn’t possible or feasible, as the story I am thinking up is just this conglomeration of interesting ideas and hooks, but no real plot. So I need those days to research, I need those days to think. It’s hard to impress on people how hard that step can be sometimes, because there’s not much to show for your effort. But creating an entire world with its conflicts and its people is very hard, especially if you don’t want to do a retelling of another story. Some of those days are spent in a library, but not all of them. Sometimes, at least for me, the best way to break through that clutter of trying to figure out where to start, is by disconnecting from my computer, and going somewhere new. That gives my brain new data to incorporate when I start thinking about work again. I get all this new sensory information and meet so many new characters--I mean people, that the act of recharging and NOT writing actually makes the physical act of writing all the better once I get back in front of my computer.
Then there are some days where I’ve written a bunch, and now I need to make sure where I’m at in the story still makes sense from where I first started. Some people won’t edit any of their work until they are done writing that first draft, I don’t really work that way. As someone who doesn’t do extensive outlines (they make me bored for the story I want to write, and no one wants that) sometimes I just need to go back and reread things I’ve previously written and massage those sections before being able to move forward. I’m not necessarily writing new words, and I may not have new content to show for my effort, but I am working.
Feeling like you have to physically write new words every day, even if it’s just one sentence, puts a lot of, I find, unnecessary pressure on the author. It discounts all the other steps that go into writing that aren’t exactly writing, but just as vital to the process. I know I struggle with this all the time, I like having new work to show. But If I didn’t take the time to recharge—like driving all through the state of Oregon—or research things like fairy mounds (a real thing I did for TMOS), or even spend weeks editing old content, I’d be doing myself, and you by proxy, a disservice. I’d be essentially going into gun fight with a whiffle-ball bat. So, even if I don’t write every day, every day is still a writing day.
I know I’m not the only author or writer who feels this way, and I know there are plenty who disagree with me, and that’s fine! At the end of the day, this is the process that works for me. If this kind of process suits your creative endeavors as well, then awesome! If it doesn’t, that’s fine! You do what works best for you, but just remember: even baby steps are steps forward, and you are making progress. So tell me, friends, what is your process like? Would you be able to get things done with my method?