A while back when I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them, I was elated with the responses I received. (And if you would like to participate, please feel free to contact me.) I asked thirty-five questions and gave the interviewee the freedom to answer only what they wanted. My friend and fellow-blogger, Devon Trevarrow Flaherty, had some very interesting responses which I’m sure you will find as fascinating as I did. When you’re done reading the interview, please hop on over to Devon’s blog and make sure you follow her for more entertaining tales. And now, heeeere’s Devon…
1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:
My name is Devon Trevarrow Flaherty, which is my real name, but since I couldn’t ask for a better writing name (in my opinion), I stick with that. I am a writer. Two years ago, I moved from freelancing for research materials to my life’s calling; writing novels. I moonlight as an indie publisher for Owl and Zebra Press. I also have a reading, writing, and publishing blog, The Starving Artist.
2. Please provide the link to your blog (and website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc.):
3. How many books have you written?
I published my first novel, Benevolent, in 2013. I am planning on publishing a couple more this year, The Night of One Hundred Thieves (fantasy novella), and The Family Elephant’s Jewels (general fiction). At this time, I have well over twelve books and series at some point in the writing process.
4. Has any of your work been published yet? If so, please share the link(s) to purchase it:
The complete list of links for various vendors in both paperback and ebook versions is at http://devontrevarrowflaherty.com/books/buy-books/
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 have been published by the indie publishing company that I started with my aunt. That’s effectively self-publishing. I was convinced two years ago that self-publishing was the thing of the future and the best choice for me. I am still convinced of it. I have yet to have my breakout, but I love being in charge of my own books and everything else. I will continue to self-publish, but I couldn’t tell you what I would do if a traditional publisher approached me with a great deal.
6. How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Always, always, always.
7. What would you say motivates you to keep writing?
I am in a stage where I am moving at a break-neck pace (well, allowing for times of break-neck mothering). I feel like I need to keep that up until I have a very deep backlist. The more I put out there, the bigger chance I have of having a breakout book. I might not have to work so frantically forever.
8. Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)?
For my blog, I read from a compiled, randomized list of 1200 “bests” which I made about a year ago. I am averaging about forty books and reviews per year. I just reviewed The Writer’s Journey (Christopher Vogler) and A Night to Remember (Walter Lord), and am currently finishing up on Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End. Then I need to take a break to track with my nine-year-old’s reading of The Sisters Grimm series before diving in to the Ender Quintet. I am never caught without a book on hand.
9. What is your preferred reading method? (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.) Why?
Paperback. Is this a real question? Look. Smell. Feel. Aaaa…
10. Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?
Third person past. I did some blogging about this last year, and it is the most natural thing for reader and writer. That doesn’t mean I will always do it that way.
ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK::
11. What is the title of your current work in progress or the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?
After NaNoWriMo 2013, I completed the manuscript for a fantasy novella, The Night of One Hundred Thieves. It is in the editing process, now. For Camp NaNoWriMo (right now), I am working on a fantasy novel called The Journey of Clement Fancywater. I am thoroughly enjoying Camp NaNoWriMo and am actually (yay!) keeping up with the word count. The project started as an experiment regarding the Hero’s Journey Monomyth, but has turned into a real page turner… I think.
12. 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?
The Night of One Hundred Thieves: Fantasy. My style of fantasy is less world-building and more character focused. What makes this book different is its bulk of characters, especially in a small novel. So far, my first readers tell me I pulled it off.
13. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story? The Night of One Hundred Thieves: The Queen was dying. The kingdom was at peace. And the ring was about to be buried forever in the royal crypt. But its aura of power and its promise of riches and its stories of magic were destined to inspire a night never to forget, The Night of One Hundred Thieves.
From an unlikely cast of farmers, travelers, townspeople, courtiers and royals, One Hundred unravels a tale of forty people all both recognizable and special in their own way, as they barrel toward their future together and an inevitable clash of motives. From Farah the Barren to Nora the Girl Widow, from Tarquis the Secret Pirate to Lykus the Cupbearer, their stories will make you laugh, cry, remember, and hope for their future and the future of magic.
Look for it in July.
ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE::
14. How often do you write?
Every work day. Or maybe I should say, every school day. When my kids are at school, I write, and sometimes when they are home, as well.
15. Approximately how many words do you write at each sitting?
A couple thousand. I have been building up stamina for this, and managed over 4000 the other day. Of course, sometimes I am working on a book and don’t write a single word, since I am marketing or editing.
16. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?
I edit my own, sure, but I also have a professional editor (who happens to be related to me) and a group (or two) of beta readers. Altogether, we go over it at least four rounds.
17. What is your method of writing?
I write through it, diligently and with a set goal date, although I am an incurable edit-as-I-go writer. Someday, I want to try writing a book on an old typewriter and see what happens. Anyhow, after I get the first draft, I let my editor and husband read it and give feedback and notes. Then I hit editing hard. Then I let the first readers give it a go. Then I edit it again and synthesize all of our ideas. Then my editor and I proofread. Then I correct. Then I publish it. Somewhere in there, I begin marketing.
18. How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?
With NaNoWriMo, about two months. Without it, a year to a year and a half.
19. Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel? If so, please elaborate.
I work from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. That’s not really enough time, but it is what it is. I set goals each day, like get a blog entry written and do 2000 words. Then I use up “extra” time reading trade mags, designing a cover, ordering release postcards, entering a contest, etc.
20. How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?
I don’t love research like some authors. I take notes regarding plot and character, especially if we are headed into NaNoWriMo. Otherwise, I draw a map or jot down a timeline as I go. To be completely honest, my ADHD brain can’t recall where I left my keys or my driver’s license or my datebook, but it does hold every single book that I am in process writing. I can intuit its tone, its style, all the characters, the general arch, the basic plot, individual scenes, a real sense of place, and even its length. It’s all in there.
21. Do you have any “must haves” to help you write? (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.)
Quiet. A keyboard helps.
22. 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?
Back to the ADHD, I can’t do anything in life too repetitively. Currently, I write at the dining room table. My “office” moves around to the couch and TV tray, to the library, to a coffee shop… I stop when it’s time to pick up the kids.
23. Does your real life ever neglected because of your writing? If so, how do you feel about that?
Okay, one more go on the ADHD. As someone with ADHD, I get hyper-focused. So yes, I struggle with returning to the “real world,” or even noticing it’s there, when I write. But I fight it, because I really love my family, too.
ABOUT YOUR WORK::
24. What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?
As a writer, you have those moments when you need to research something, but you are a little afraid of setting off some sort of alarm somewhere, like in the CIA or something. I have a friend right now who is neck-deep in his first-person novel about a serial killer. You can bet some organization has a file on him, somewhere. When I was an editor for a research publishing company, I was in my first weeks out of college and doing research on Halle Berry for Newsmakers. At the time, X-Men had just released. I innocently typed “x men” into the search engine and spent the next twenty minutes trying to block my flashing screen from cubicle passersby. All those spiders and cookies were a real problem.
Thank you, Devon, for allowing me to interview you. I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have.