And it’s another guest! Still author of the month! Yes, we have four together this month! This is the last of the four… Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Shannon M. Kirkland! :)
Where do you live and write from?
I live in Indiana and mostly I write at home in the evenings and on the weekends. I have a day job as a computer programmer specializing in Business Intelligence which can get hectic at times and spill over into my evenings and weekends. I do find myself daydreaming about my stories when I’m waiting for programs to complete and often find myself jotting down quick notes.
Why do you write?
I write because it makes me think and feel as well as learn and grow in many different ways. Putting myself into my character’s shoes really makes me think about how an individual’s experiences shape that person. Writing fiction has opened up a window in my mind and allowed me to discover many things about myself and others in addition to discovering more about the writing process itself. I’ve always had a great admiration for authors and now I have an even greater appreciation of the art.
When did you start writing?
I first started writing fiction last year. I’ve written a lot of technical documents for my job but besides journaling or short pieces here and there, I hadn’t written a complete fictional story until last year. I’ve been an avid reader since my first Dick and Jane book. When I was a child, I told my parents that one day I would write a story. However, as the years went by, I never attempted it, thinking that I simply did not have the talent to be a writer.
What genre(s) do you write?
I write fiction containing LGBT characters. Currently, my stories have been based on romantic relationships.
What does your writing routine consist of?
I have been lax in setting up a writing routine and to be honest, I think my output has suffered for it. Ideally, I would set aside at least two hours every morning or evening to do nothing but write.
What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
As a fairly new fiction writer, I’m still working to develop strengths and am spending a lot of time reading about writing as well as just simply writing and ignoring the little critical voice inside my head that tells me I’m not good enough. Perhaps one of my strengths then is the determination to learn as much as I can about the art of writing and apply these insights to my own creative output.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
I do put myself in my stories, probably more than I should. The inspiration for my stories has come from events in my life although with an entirely new spin put upon them.
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
I’m a bit of an outliner and an improviser. My outlines are fairly high level so that I keep myself open for creativity. I have the natural tendency to be an outliner and to be linear in my thinking, so it’s important for me to allow plenty of room to improvise and be creative. I’m a fairly slow writer although the more I write, the faster I’ve become. I attribute this to opening up the creative stream in my mind and much like a muscle, the more it’s exercised the stronger it becomes.
My debut story is The Golf Widow. It’s a story about self-discovery and breaking free from the mould into which we’ve been placed – placed into by ourselves and/or by our circumstances. It’s about taking control and taking chances and in the process, finding happiness and love within ourselves and for others. Details about The Golf Widow and the major retailers where it can be obtained is here: http://carterseagrove.weebly.com/golfwidow.html
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie publishing without a doubt! Indie publishing offers a freedom that was previously not available for writers. Many times I’ve read where authors have complained that their publisher has set the schedule, selected the cover, insisted on particular edits and even pressured them to stick to a formula. I do fully appreciate the support that traditional publishing gives to authors and that is why I was very excited to create The Carter Seagrove Project LLC with Alp and Chambers.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
I am currently writing a story for the Goodread’s Love is an Open Road event and still have yet to finish The Interior Designer, my next story to be published. I have a couple of other untitled works in progress, ideas for future stories and Alp and I have talked about collaboration on Gloriana, a contemporary family saga based on the lives of the Queens of England collectively referred to as the She-Wolves.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
My goal is to keep writing and to continually improve my skills. To achieve this, I have taken a focused look at my day-to-day activities to see where I can eliminate unproductive tasks and use this time for writing. Additionally, I am investigating writing workshops and courses as well as continually reading articles and books on the art and skill of writing.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
When I was feeling very insecure about my writing abilities, Alp told me something to this effect: “You are never going to write a story that is liked by everyone but you are also never going to write a story that no one likes. There is no right or wrong, write your story and never doubt your ability to touch someone in an unexpected way with your words.”
I have been an avid reader all of my life, primarily reading fiction in the mystery/suspense, fantasy and m/m romance genres. Having switched to predominantly reading eBooks, I’ve discovered many self-published writers. One of my favorites is Alp Mortal. I contacted him via his website to ask about one of his books and after exchanging a few emails with him, I mentioned how I always thought it would be fun to write fiction. He urged me to try it and even gave me an idea from which my first title, The Golf Widow, was born. It has been an exciting and rewarding experience. I encourage everyone to try it for themselves. I’ve always appreciated the skills and talent it takes to write fiction but never realized the extent of the challenges and how thought-provoking it is compared to business writing. This experience has definitely given me a new perspective and an even greater appreciation for the craft. It’s been so enlightening and exhilarating; now that I’ve started, I can’t stop.
Alp Mortal, Chambers Mars and Shannon M. Kirkland are The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent book publisher. Find us at http://www.carterseagrove.weebly.com, on Twitter @carterseagrove and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.
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