Author Interview – Viv Drewa

Recently, I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them for guest-spots on my blog.  (If you are interested in participating, please contact me.)  I asked everyone thirty-five questions, some were basic, and others were multi-part inquiries, and I asked them to answer only what they wanted to or what was applicable. My friend and fellow-blogger, Viv Drewa, had some very captivating responses which I’m sure will enchant you, as well.  After you read her interview, please be sure to hop on over to her blog and follow her for a regular dose of her charm and wit.  And now, I turn the microphone over to Viv…

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ABOUT YOU::

1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:

Viv Drewa

2. Please provide the link to your blog (and website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc.):

FaceBook: http://facebook.com/vivdrewa.author
Twitter: http://twitter.com/@vivdrewa
Tumblr: http://vivdrewa.tumblr.com/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Viv-Drewa/e/B00J1PTJ20
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7800701.Viv_Drewa?from_search=true
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/vivdrewa/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/111517233233824739640/posts
WordPress: http://theowlladyblog.wordpress.com

3. How many books have you written?

Two novels and one short story. I’ve also contributed two short shorts to two collections.

4. Has any of your work been published yet? If so, please share the link(s) to purchase it:

The Angler and the Owl, eBook
US: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Athe+angler+and+the+owl&keywords=the+angler+and+the+owl&ie=UTF8
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Angler-Owl-Viv-Drewa-ebook/dp/B00HQP60OW/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin_ku?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412117161&sr=1-1&keywords=viv+drewa

The Angler and the Owl, paper
US: http://www.amazon.com/The-Angler-Owl-Viv-Drewa/dp/1494965410/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1397854756&sr=1-1
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Angler-Owl-Viv-Drewa/dp/1494965410/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1397854756&sr=1-1

The Owl of the Sipan Lord
US: http://www.amazon.com/The-Owl-Sipan-Lord-Drewa-ebook/dp/B00HFDIXK4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387573936&sr=8-1&keywords=the+owl+of+the+sipan+lord
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Owl-Sipan-Lord-Drewa-ebook/dp/B00HFDIXK4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387573936&sr=8-1&keywords=the+owl+of+the+sipan+lord

From the Pages of Grandfather’s Life
US: http://www.amazon.com/From-Pages-Grandfathers-Life-Drewa-ebook/dp/B00I3PNX76/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391011816&sr=8-1&keywords=from+the+pages+of+grandfather%27s+life
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/From-Pages-Grandfathers-Life-Drewa-ebook/dp/B00I3PNX76/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391011816&sr=8-1&keywords=from+the+pages+of+grandfather%27s+life

Ashtrays to Jawbreakers Book 1:
US: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/446971

Ashtrays to Jawbreakers Book 2:
US: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/467822

5. If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing? Why? If you have not been published yet, what are your plans for the future?

I initially self-published but my WIP will be through a publisher.

6. How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Since I was 9 to 10 I wanted to be an author

7. What would you say motivates you to keep writing?

My imagination and the desire to create.

8. Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)?

I have so many favorite authors it would take a whole page to list. I just finished “Paranormal Persistence ~Caveat~: :True Experiences” which was fascinating!

9. What is your preferred reading method? (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.) Why?

I really like Kindle eBooks but if the book isn’t available as an eBook then paperback is fine. I like to read and an eReader can hold a lot more books than my book shelf.

10. Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?

Third person, either tense. It depends on the story line and if I feel it’ll be better in past or present tense. I also tried to publish one of my novels in the first person, present tense and received bad reviews.

11. Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books? 

I always read and never take breaks between readings.

12. How many books would you say you read in a year? How many at any one time?

Depends on the length but I’d say about 20 a year. I tried reading two at a time and decided it was too frustrating. I didn’t know which book to pick up.

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ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK::

13. What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?

“The Owl of the Sipan Lord” is my most recent completed novel

14. What is your novel’s genre? Would you say there is a sub-genre? What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?

Primarily paranormal. The sub-genre will be thriller or murder mystery. There’s a little romance in them, too.  I like to think ‘outside-the-box’ when I write to make them different.

15. What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?

I love South America. Their cultures and traditions so I think of a way to build a story around on the countries.

16. What is your target audience’s age, gender, etc.?

I don’t have a target audience.

17. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?

Martin and Clare Montgomery worked as an archaeological team until Martin’s accidental death at a dig they were working on in Peru. Clare swore she’d never go back, but after having a dream about the dig that didn’t add up to the finds of the area, and the help of the Peruvian Pygmy Owl and a blue-eyed spirit, she did.

Her long-time friend and mentor, Carl Windmueller, believed in following dreams and encouraged her to go. He tries to research what she saw in the dream but is visited by a red-eyed spirit that causes him to have a massive heart attack when he gets close.

Unfortunately, Clare doesn’t understand what Carl was looking into by the books on his desk. Her friend Cord gets a team together and they head back to Peru.

The re-eyed spirit does all it can to keep the team from finding it’s secret that has been kept for the past 1300 years. Near fatalities plague the team taking her back to the day her husband died. But she kept on until the truth was fully discovered.
This is a story about a widow who, with the help of an owl and blue eyed spirit, solves her husband’s murder, and a 1300 year old mystery in Peru.

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 ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE::

18. How often do you write?

I try to write daily but sometimes the day gets away from me.

19. Approximately how many words do you write at each sitting?

About 500 or more. It depends on how much time I have.

20. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?

I had a friend edit them, but now that I’m going with a publisher they will take care of the editing.

21. What is your method of writing? (i.e., Do you write the entire manuscript, then go back and make changes? Do you plan chapters as you go along or write the story then go back and add chapters?  Do you re-read as you go along or after you are done with the first draft?)

I plan out the whole novel and start writing. Sometimes I will go back because of something I think of that would add to the story.

22. Do you have a muse? If so, please elaborate. If not, what inspires you?

No, I don’t have a muse. My novels are inspired by different things, really. Not any one thing.

23. How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?

Depends on the length and whether I run into ‘writer’s block’. The longest it took me was eight months.

24. Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel? If so, please elaborate.

I don’t give myself limits on a daily basis but I do limit the time it takes me. I plan on eight months, since that was the longest it ever took me. If I finish sooner great, if not, no problem.

25. How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?

After I interview my characters (something I read to help develop characters in a writer’s magazine) I read over the interview and come up with names.

26. How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?

My second novel, “The Owl of the Sipan Lord” required a lot of research so my notes were extensive. I even contacted a well-renowned archaeologist for help. He was very helpful suggesting research pages to help with my questions.

27. Do you have any “must haves” to help you write? (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.)

No.

28. Do you only write during a certain time of day or in a certain location? If so, do you make yourself stop after a certain time?

I write in the morning when it’s quiet.

29. Does your real life ever neglected because of your writing? If so, how do you feel about that?

No. I’m very organized and have a good routine. It’s usually the opposite: my writing gets neglected because of real life.

30. What is the quirkiest thing you do or have ever done when writing?

I don’t like to have shoes and socks on. I feel my brain gets more oxygen this way.

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ABOUT YOUR WORK::

31. If you have written more than one novel, which is your favorite and why?

I can’t really claim to like one more than the other.

32. If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?

I would be France Hunter form “The Angler and the Owl” because she’s an ornithologist who specializes in owls and I’ve love them all my life.

33. If one of your books became a movie, who would you choose for the “perfect cast” of main characters?

Wow. I never thought about that. For “The Angler and the Owl” I would choose Harrison Ford for the part of John Sinclair, Sigourney Weaver as France Hunter and Michael Ely as Doc.

34. What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?

Burials in Peru during the Moche period. I was excited to see how they buried their dead in the early 200 CE

35. What is the most difficult thing you have ever researched for one your books and why?

That would be for my WIP. I wasn’t able to find out anything about the police investigation techniques in South America so I’m using our local police procedures.

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Thank you, Viv, for allowing me to interview you.  I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have.

~Rachel

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know most of my U.S. friends will be busy with Thanksgiving today, either enjoying food, football, friends, family or some combination thereof.  Or perhaps they are preparing for Black Friday shopping tomorrow.  (Or should I say tonight?)

So I will limit my Throwback Thursday to a photo of my plate from last year which is the exact thing I will be eating later today:

Starting at 11:00 on the plate, that’s filling (which is a homemade vegetarian version of stuffing), mashed potatoes, cheesy potato casserole, green bean casserole, and corn pudding.  (No, I don’t eat turkey or any meat except the occasional fish stick or tuna sandwich.)  The rest of my household will be enjoying these, as well as turkey, grilled herb chicken, cranberry sauce, cranberry-pecan-pineapple jello, stuffed acorn squash (we have another vegetarian in the group that likes that), pumpkin pie, chocolate lasagna (yes, I’ll have some of that!), peanut butter Oreo icebox pies (I’ll have some of that, too!) and possibly cherry cheese bars and cinnamon roasted pecans (if there’s time to make them).

So if you’re celebrating today, Happy Thanksgiving!  Also, if you’re participating, good luck and please be careful with Black Friday tonight and tomorrow!  And to everyone else, Happy Thursday!

Time to talk:  What are you eating today?  Will you cook it yourself or will someone else prepare it for you?  Do you do Black Friday?  If so, do you shop for yourself or for others?  Are you ready to start Christmas decorations?

Happy Birthday, Granddaddy Pete!

As I’ve shared before, my grandparents raised me, so as far as I’m concerned, they were my real parents.  Today my Granddaddy would have been ninety-five years old!  He passed away when he was sixty-seven and I was seventeen.  At the time, I thought he was old then!  Of course, now that I’m in between seventeen and sixty-seven myself, I don’t think that’s so old at all anymore!  LOL!

My favorite photo of Grandma and Granddaddy sometime around the late 1940s I guess.

My grandfather was a strict man whose only interest was in school and my education.  By the time I left the second grade and transferred to a different private school, he started getting the following year’s books from the school and every night, weekends and holidays included, he would make me sit with him for two to three hours to study and do the work for the grade ahead of me.  I also had to bring home every single book every day and do my homework in front of him, even if I had already done it in school.  As you might imagine, this caused a great deal of resentment in me toward school and toward him.  By the time I was in high school, I started accidentally (on purpose!) forgetting my books at school.  I got away with that excuse for about a week before he decided to visit the school and then forced me to stay after school under a teacher’s supervision for two hours each day so that teacher could see to it that I got my homework done.  (Poor Mrs. St. Clair didn’t understand why Granddaddy was so obsessed with my schooling, either!)

Before spending every evening in Granddaddy’s home school after spending the entire day in real school, I could go outside after school until whatever time the newspaper said sunset was.  That meant I was inside the front door by that time, not in the yard and not on the porch.  But it was my responsibility to check the paper daily.  And if I was even one minute late, I was grounded for the rest of the week.

Because all that education was shoved down my throat, I hated school with a vengeance.  I didn’t like it anyway because my Asperger’s Syndrome made me anxious when I was around a lot of people, but knowing I’d have to go home and take all the chapter tests in every book just for Granddaddy, even though the teachers never assigned them, and spending hours reading aloud instead of getting any downtime, made me resent every moment I was at school.  As such, I did all I could to get out early.  I took eleventh grade English in summer school and was therefore able to skip my junior year and graduate at sixteen years old.

My other favorite photo of Grandma and Granddaddy on Guam in the 1950s.

However, because of my disdain for school, I didn’t want to go to college after graduation.  It was another five years before I realized how foolish that was and went.  (And of course, it turned out that I loved it!)  Furthermore, because of how strict my lifestyle was, I just wanted to feel loved, so I did what too many young girls do, and I fell for the first boy who came along and paid any attention to me.  At only thirteen years old, I already decided I would marry that boy someday, a fact which Granddaddy absolutely hated.

Granddaddy and me on his last birthday on earth.

So Granddaddy and I argued over that boy and we argued over school.  All the time.  It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that he only wanted me to have the advantages in life that his other children didn’t have because they dropped out of school.  And while I still think he was excessively overzealous in his attempts to school me, I do now fully appreciate his reasons for doing so.

Happy Birthday, Granddaddy Pete!  I love and miss you so much!

My Secret

I know many of you are getting ready for Thanksgiving this week, so I’ll make this short and sweet.  If, like me, you are the type of person who washes your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and if like me, you are the person responsible for washing the dishes, you will want to know my secret.  (The fact that my dishwasher was manufactured sometime during the middle of The Cold War is the reason I wash the dishes before it does.)

To make cleanup easy for all those pots, pans and casserole dishes that have baked on gunk, just add a tablespoon of fabric softener to the dish, then fill the rest with hot water and let it soak for a few minutes.  You won’t need to scrub anything at all.  If you don’t have fabric softener, hand lotion or hair conditioner work just as well, too.  It softens the gunk and helps it pull off with minimal work by you.

Talk to me:  Do you already utilize this trick when you wash dishes?  Do you wash dishes before you put them in the dishwasher?  Do you have any secrets that make cleanup easier?  How old is the oldest appliance in your house?

I’m No Martha Stewart

Have you ever watched Martha Stewart?  She can rip open a turkey and stuff it with her bare hands, then while it’s cooking, she tends to her garden, sews a new dress and crafts some fancy place settings for her dinner party.

But I’m not her.  First of all, I refuse to touch a dead bird.  Ever.  (And in case you’re wondering, no, I don’t eat dead birds ever, either.)  I also don’t garden.  I’m allergic to just about everything outside and especially grass, so the last thing I like to do is get down in the grass to plant something.  I did take home economics in middle school, plus I lived with a grandma who sewed a lot of my clothes, so technically I do know how to sew, but I just don’t like it.  And finally, while I do enjoy doing art projects, such as making crafts, drawing, painting, etc., I don’t like to keep that stuff in my house.  I think it has something to do with my Asperger’s Syndrome, but while I admire and appreciate the artistic efforts of crafts, I just don’t care for that kind of clutter in my own home.

However, Thanksgiving is the one time a year when I throw caution to the wind and let my hair down.  Because in November, I start making my place settings and name cards for our Thanksgiving meal.

As many of you know, most of my family doesn’t speak to me, so besides my sister and me, we usually have one or both of my kids, their dates, and a bunch of friends.  So for years, it’s been my tradition to surprise everyone with what kind of place card they will get.  And then afterward, they can be thrown away and I don’t have to keep any of that craft clutter in my house.  So while this year’s place card will be a surprise, I’m going to show you some previous years’ work.

This time, everyone got a turkey pinwheel.  These were a lot of fun, and the pinwheel part was different for each guest and was made with a paper pattern that reflected their own personalities.  Almost everyone started blowing them right away and it was funny to see who got overly zealous and broke theirs before their food was even served.

This time, everyone got a pinecone turkey.  They seemed like a good idea in my head, but making them was something else.  It was not as easy as I would have thought to find pinecones that were not crushed, and I pricked my fingers a lot while I was gluing the paper feathers in them.  Plus, after I made them, I then started fearing they might have bugs in them which would get in the food.

This time, everyone got a pilgrim’s hat or bonnet.  I also made a sign for the door that said “Ye Olde Pilgrim Cookery – Didst Thou Bring Thy Appetite?  Signage By New World Printing Company” and my sister sewed us both pilgrim dresses.  (However, we looked exceptionally dorky, so I will not be sharing those photos!)  We tried to get my son to wear a pilgrim man outfit or even a hat, but he refused to take part in our insanity.  Also, we spoke only in Olde English which was pretty fun.  Or funny.  But the guests seemed to like it, or else they were too polite to laugh at us to our face.  Either way, we had a good time.

So, while I admit I’m no Martha Stewart, she’s no Rachel Carrera either.

Let’s talk:  What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions?  White meat, dark meat or no meat?  What was the last thing you ever made with your hands?  Would you ever speak in another accent in front of guests for an entire day?

Jah, I Think Amish Books Are Wonderful Gut

I think it’s kind of funny that I write psychological thrillers, but I almost exclusively read Amish fiction.  I used to read a lot of thrillers, horror and other such stories, but a few years ago, I hit a patch of life that was so hard, I wasn’t sure I’d survive.  That’s when I turned to the Amish and found their life to be peaceful and calming.  So when I read an Amish novel, I enjoy finding out about their simple life, how they survive without electricity and gadgets and a lot of store bought items, how much faith they have that things will turn out the way they’re supposed to, and I also like when the author inserts some of the Amish’s High German.

What I write is often based loosely on my own life experiences.  And I haven’t had the easiest life.  Nor have I had the most stable people in my life.  So the psychological thriller genre works for me.  However, when I write, it’s often emotionally draining because I have to vividly recall whatever incident I went through and relive it as I fictionalize it and put it to paper.  As such, I then enjoy turning to a bit of Amish fiction to renew my hopefulness.

Today marks the birthday of my second favorite Amish fiction author, Wanda Brunstetter.  She’s written nearly seventy books with over eight million copies sold, many of which have been on top bestseller lists.

So, if you have any interest whatsoever in Amish fiction, I highly recommend any of Mrs. Brunstetter’s novels.  Happy Birthday, Mrs. Brunstetter!