Interview with Rachel McMillan
About the Author
Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
I actually do not remember a time when I was not writing. Since childhood, I have suffered from social anxiety and always felt more comfortable with my nose in a book --- either a novel someone else had written or a notebook with stories of my own. When I was 11 that’s when I knew I wanted to write stories not just for me to read but for other people. I had just finished reading Vienna Prelude by Bodie Thoene ( the first of dozens of times) and I knew I wanted to write a book just like the one I found in my church library. It took me about twenty years from that point to show anyone my work. But, I wrote novels and filled notebooks and USB keys. The first time I did show anyone my writing I took a bold scary step and queried an agent. Luckily, I signed with that agency and not two years later signed with Harvest for the Herringford and Watts series.
2. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I just turned in the edits for A LESSON IN LOVE AND MURDER the next full-length Herringford and Watts adventure which releases September 1. Concurrently, I am working on the novella-sized adventure A CONDUCTOR OF LIGHT which releases at Christmas and then the final book in the series THE WHITE FEATHER MURDERS. The latter is occupying most of my time. It releases March next year.
While keeping these on the go, I am also working on ideas for the series I want to pursue after Jem and Merinda’s stories are finished. I have a million and one ideas and many novels already half done or even completed. My inkling is that my readers will next find themselves with some new characters in 1930s Boston … as that seems to be where I am drawn to next.
3. What does your writing process look like?
Because I write historical, I spend a lot of time in the archives or at the library doing research until something sticks. The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder has a deceptively whimsical feel to it, but the research was mind-boggling extensive to get the feel of the time and the cadence of voice I created to tell these tales in a style like an Edwardian Ladies magazine. I have a sketched out idea of the characters and their world but it is usually when I am researching that something fabulous sticks out that shapes the next step. With the Herringford and Watts series,I filled a notebook with character sketches –really shaping Jem, Merinda, Jasper and Ray and chose the time period and some of the key plot-points, but the magic happened when I was up to my nose in research on Edwardian-era Toronto. I stumbled upon the most interesting things. The Morality Squad is my interpretation of some of what I learned about the limitations women had living and working in Toronto in the 1910s. I also decided to tie in some American settings to the series as a nod to my American readers. So, I took research trips to Boston and Concord and Chicago: two cities Jem and Merinda visit during their investigations. If I get an idea for a scene, I will write it and then sew everything up like a patchwork quilt later on. While writing, I used a book that most women of Jem’s station would have owned at the time called The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Everything: it was full of little how-to hints from boiling an egg to flirting! I play with some of this advice in the completely fictional Dorothea Fairfax’s Guide to Bachelor Girlhood that Jem reads in my series.
4. Where is your favorite place to write?
When I am first starting a draft, I write longhand and I love to be amidst the action. Especially when I am writing a key scene that takes place in Toronto. I like to be out in the bustling city and will often work at a coffee shop or pub. After that, well, I work wherever I can. Writing is not my full-time job: so I will work over lunchbreaks at the office, or on the subway, or when I get home.
5. What authors would you recommend?
This is the hardest question LOL because I am such a bookworm and a voracious reader in so many genres. I love historical fiction and one of my all-time favourite writers is Patrick O’Brian. He wrote a 21 volume series set during the Age of Sail in the Napoleonic Wars ( the movie Master and Commander with Russell Crowe is based on these books). In the mystery genre, I love Maureen Jennings (her books are set in Victorian era Toronto) Martha Grimes and Rhys Bowen especially. They both influenced the Herringford and Watts series. In the CBA, Lynn Austin is an all time favourite, as are Allison Pittman and Katherine Reay. I am a huge Charles Dickens fan. Clearly, I also love the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. I have loved them since I was a kid.
6. What period of history interests you the most?
Another tough question. I love anything to do with the American Revolutionary war era (hence my passion for Boston!). I Because I love nautical history, the late 18th and early 19th Centuries and the Napoleonic wars also fascinate me.
7. What inspired the idea for the Herringford and Watts Series? What inspired the idea for The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder?
My first submitted manuscript was a straight historical ( no mystery!) set in Halifax in 1917. My agent was shopping it around with little luck. When she was at ICRS ( a big retail conference) meeting with editors, she kept hearing that romantic suspense was popular. Knowing I was a big Sherlock Holmes fan, she suggested I try something like that. I really wanted to work with women who colour outside of tradition and this opportunity allowed me to find them pitted against a society that wants to keep them happily with home and hearth raising babies. I wanted to see what it would look like to take women out of that typical Edwardian domestic sphere. Merinda is fiercely independent ( a trait she and I share) and cannot imagine a life that sees her stuck in an expected woman’s role. Jemima loves mystery and adventure but also wants to fall in love, get married and have babies. I wondered what it would be like to balance these two. I feel many women identify with both Jem and Merinda and share traits with each. In subsequent books, I pull out some of the challenges of their striking differences and non-traditional roles. What happens when Merinda is attracted to a client? What happens when Jem has a baby but still wants to follow Merinda around in trousers? Needless to say, we are so fortunate to live in a time period where women have the freedom to balance work and domestic life!
8. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I read a lot! I love to travel ---everywhere. I am always dreaming about or planning my next trip. Spain is next on the docket this Summer. I am a huge baseball fan and catch as many Toronto Blue Jays games as possible during the season. I also love the theatre. Toronto has an amazing opera and theatre scene and it keeps me busy and very entertained.
Thanks so much for letting me come to your blog :)
Interview with Jennifer Slattery
About the Author
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
Though I’ve always enjoyed writing, I never considered it as a career until around 2009. Before then I largely journaled and wrote for ministries I was involved with—parent newsletters, dramas for outreach, that sort of thing. Then one day, as I was brainstorming a story on Jonah for a children’s program it hit me, “I enjoy this.” It might sound funny, but it really was an a-ha moment for me. So I began to dabble in storytelling. Then, in 2009, I pursued writing seriously as a career. I signed my first contract four years later.
2. What does your writing process look like?
I’m a plotter, so I usually begin with a general idea than spend a chunk of time researching and getting to know my characters. Once I know them fairly well, I begin laying out the story scene by scene using different colored notecards. Once that’s done, I dig in and start writing. Inevitably, about 2/3rds of the way through the first draft, one of my critique partners will alert me to a major story problem that requires a major rewrite. Once all glaring issues are fixed, I can finish the first draft. Then, of course, it goes through umpteen edits.
3. How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
It really depends on the subject area and setting. My third novel was a medical drama that took nearly six months, maybe more, of research and was the most difficult novel I’ve written to date. But typically, I can write two novels a year, so about six months from first idea to final draft.
4. What projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I’m about to dig in to a contemporary romance set in Austin, Texas. How about if I share the preliminary blurb?
Paige Cordell closed her wounded heart to her life in Texas to pursue her dream of becoming a nationally known journalist. Just as hard work and perseverance are starting to pay off, she’s forced back to Austin--right next door to Bryce Gilbertson’s grandmother and in proximity to the man she’s always hated. She plans to avoid him at all costs, until she needs him to reach the one goal that will allow her to leave Austin for good.
All his life, Bryce Gilbertson’s parents groomed him to join the family law firm until his frat boy behavior turned him into a college dropout. Now matured, he purchased a murder mystery dinner theater, which he plans to transform into a Wild West theme, an action is parents find irresponsible. He plans to prove them wrong, and he needs Paige’s help to do so.
5. What authors inspire your writing?
I love Shannon Taylor Vannatter, Eva Marie Eaverson, Varina Denman… I could go on and on, there are so many great authors! I learn something from each story I read.
6. Who designs the covers of your books?
My publisher has a team that does that, then they usually send out a survey inviting readers to vote for their favorite.
7. What inspired you to write Breaking Free?
The story arose from an experience a dear friend went through. She seemed to have it all together, to be the perfect mother with the perfect, put-together family. But one day she told me her husband of eighteen years had a crack addiction. I couldn’t believe it! I’m not sure what shocked me more—that she was married to an addict or that, all the time I knew her, I had no idea!
8. What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Reading, traveling, visiting various coffeehouses in the Omaha metro—that’s a hobby, right? Either that or an addiction. (grin) Honestly, though, I’d be content with my bookshelf, laptop, kindle, and a cup of coffee with sweetened almond milk. So long as I had those things, I could remain locked in my office indefinitely!
Check out my review of
About the Author
Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne loves God, her family, her country, dogs, chocolate and coffee! A country gal with a heart for the big city, Ruthy likes nothing more than to write the kind of books she loves to read, and she's even more happy that now she gets paid to do it! She's been married for a Very Long Time and she and her husband Dave live on a small farm in upstate New York where lake effect snow buries them on a regular basis in winter. But that's all right... it gives her more time to write!
I love to write.
I have always loved to write. First I loved to read, and then I wanted to make up my own stories. Tell my own tales.
Are all writers born this way?
I don’t know, but some are. I can see the creative urge in some of my children, and now my grandchildren. Some are storytellers. Some aren’t.
So then I think genetics, that long spiral, that double helix that repeats non-stop and sets us in motion. What part of that curling piece makes us artsy? Athletic? Musical? What parts feeds genius?
I’ve heard that the chasm separating the right from left brain is narrower in brilliant people. (Of course they have to be DEAD to prove that, so not too many volunteer their brains for a check on it until it’s well… Let’s just say it’s “late”….)
But what if it isn’t just spacing and selective genetics? What if there’s a subjective component of “nurture” or (in my case) “lack of nurture”?
Hi, I’m Ruthy and I love making up stories, but because I was born into a very poor, dysfunctional family, I think it was more than gifted genetic talent that spurred my goals.
I wanted to fix things. From the time I was young and realized our family had few happy endings, I wanted to create stories that erupt into a solid happy ending. I wanted, no, make that longed to show that happy endings don’t have to be obscure. They’re here, right here, at our fingertips if we’re willing to make the necessary choices. I wrapped my goals in faith and a solid work ethic and (as life often does) I met a number of left turns including six children, multiple jobs and a quiet push from God to be patient…
What choice did I have? But looking back, I see the path much more clearly now! Waiting to jump into the writing pool offered me the chance to hone a lot of life experience, on-the-job training for book research, a fun study of human nature, cute kids, brats and everything in between! I birthed children and helped birth dogs and calves. I’ve milked cows and processed fresh chickens! I’ve smoked bacon and grown just about every fruit and veggie you can imagine. I’ve worked as a billing clerk, a teacher’s aide with emotionally disturbed children, a waitress, a bridal consultant, a babysitter… gosh, so many nametag and hairnet jobs, I can’t list them all. But each one brought me a little more experience under my belt… and more story fodder!
I love to write, and I would encourage anyone who loves this craft to jump in. Do it! Don’t hesitate. When the time is right, go for it.
Writing can be learned. I’ve seen that often. But storytelling is often an inborn gift, so if that’s your talent? If that’s your inclination…. Do it.
This Erma Bombeck quote sits above my kitchen sink where I see it several times a day: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say, "I used everything that you gave me."
And that’s my goal. To use everything he gave me, making others smile. And when you read a “Ruthy” book… It’s my hope that’s exactly what you’ll do…. Smile and walk away a little big happier and more hopeful. And that’s a pretty sweet goal!
1. How long does it typically take you to write a book?
This can vary, but about 8 weeks, more or less. And then it will need revisions, but I can revise one book while working on another, so that becomes a good use of time, all around.
2. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Oh, gosh, I’ve written for as long as I can remember, but the first full real book was about 18 years ago… and it was wretchedly horribly overdone (and of course I LOVED IT!!!) but then it was about five years before I could carve writing time out again, and when I did, I produced a whole bunch of wretchedly overdone melodramatic stories, but then I was able to use parts of them later on, or ideas from them, once I tapped into the fun story-telling abilities God gave me, and dumped the verbiage. J New authors/writers are the funniest and often the craziest things on the planet. We give tween and teen girls a run for the money on the Crazy-R-Us meter!
3. What suggestions would you give a potential author to help them become a better writer?
Write everyday. Don’t stop, don’t quit, don’t get lazy or careless. Pele was an amazing soccer player, world-renowned, amazing, and he learned to play soccer in the streets and slums of Brazil using a SOCK BALL.
That’s right, a ball made up of knotted socks.
He played barefoot because they couldn’t afford to keep replacing his shoes.
He trained by running and playing with a sock ball. Now that’s the kind of dedication you need to make it in this business. Your writing is the sock ball, and the goal is publication and you practice daily so that no one in the opposition or competition can deny you your spot on the goal line at the end of the day.
Write. Write. Write. And if you love it like I do, then it’s not a punishment, it’s like total joy to be able to do what I’ve always wanted to do! BEST JOB EVER!!!! :)
4. How frequently do you hear from your fans?
I love my readers!!! I hear from readers daily via facebook or e-mail or messaging. I love chatting (I talk way too much, I’m fairly ridiculous that way) and I love people, so that regular contact is wonderful for me!
5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?
I always knew I would be a writer someday. I always knew that’s what I wanted, but for decades I didn’t have the time to focus on the practice needed to polish the craft, to get good enough to make editors want to say YES!!! In capital letters, of course! J We had six kids and I had so many nametag and hairnet jobs, and those jobs became the best training ground for my stories, because I don’t have to research service jobs… I lived them. I made them work for me, around the kids’ schedules and the farm and the husband and all the things that pull on time, I just kept thinking “I’ll use all this in my books one day”, and I have! And yet, there’s more, LOL!
6. What inspired the idea for More Than a Promise?
I was singing in the choir and a young father walked in with three disgruntled little boys who wanted to be anywhere else but in that church! And as he guided the reluctant trio to a pew on the far side of the church, I started thinking… “Where’s Mom? Why is he alone? Why are the boys so grumpy?” And by the time I got home I had the idea for how to pair Matt Wilmot (whom I LOVE!) with a perfect character to do a retelling of “Sarah, Plain and Tall”, adult style. I’d always loved that Patricia Maclachlin story and I could see Elle, tall, and feeling gangly and despite her amazing prodigy-style success (think Thomas Kincaid) her one dream and goal was to be a mother, and that had been snatched out from under her through no fault of her own. And now, there they are, two adults who see beyond youthful images of forever, to the importance of marriage as a partnership with benefits… and when one of those benefits turns out to be true love, how can that be a bad thing?
I love this story!
6. What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
DO NOT LAUGH. I love painting, not artistically, but inside. The walls, the ceiling, refreshing a room. And in the nice weather, I love gardening, but there’s so little time because more than both of those I love hanging out with kids and grandkids! They are so fun! So they’re my first joy aside from writing, but when I’m on my own, I’m probably re-doing something or getting dirty. And by the way, little garden ponds smell Very Bad in the spring.
That’s one of those tidbits of information you probably didn’t need to know, right? :)
Interview with Pepper D. Basham #3
About the Author
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at a group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015, with the second arriving in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuts in April 2016.
1. What was the hardest part of wring A Twist of Faith? The easiest?
Finding time to write. :) For me the HARDEST part of writing is creating chapters 3-7, kind of the transition part – but the characters and setting really became the gold in this story world.
2. What kind of research did you do for this book?
Well, I asked my good friend who is a cattle farmer for some solid information on calf birthing and basic farming. Those were some FUN conversations and he’s such a great guy! (Thanks, Buford)
3. Do you have a music playlist that you listened to while writing this novel? What songs were on this playlist?
Oh yes! I love having songs go along with stories. One of the main ones is When Love Takes you In by Steven Curtis Chapman– a song that really has the heart of Adelina’s journey. Also, I Believe by Holly Starr. I also wrote a song to go along with this particular novel (and books 2 and 3 in this series) I also listen to bluegrass.
4. What is the background story behind A Twist of Faith?
I am a big fan of the movie My Fair Lady, which fits really well with my profession as a speech-language pathologist, so this story came about as a combination of my two professions And placing it in the Blue Ridge Mountains was a bonus for me because I LOVE my Appalachian culture.
5. Along with being an author, you are a speech-language-pathologist. Can you tell us more about your
career and experience with this?
My profession of speech-language pathologist covers lots of different things – not just kids who have difficulty saying their speech sounds. It includes comprehension of words, use of words, and creation of words. It also includes working with adults who’ve had strokes or brain injuries, as well as accent modification. My particular specialty is working with kids on the Autism Spectrum, but I’ve worked with almost everything in the speech-language disorder realm except swallowing. I’m not a fan of working with swallowing/trach disorders. :)
Watch for my review of Twist of Faith coming soon...
About the Author
Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she's lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. An Oreo addict, she is also a homeschool graduate and retired gymnast. She wrote The Sound of Emeralds during her senior year of college.
About the Book
Available April 15th!
- AMAZON -
Other Books in the Series
1. What authors have influenced your writing the most?
Probably MaryLu Tyndall, who was the first historical romance author I read. Laura Frantz. Joanne Bischof. Siri Mitchell, who writes in alternating first-person like I do.
2. What advice would you give a potential writer/author?
Read like crazy. Seriously. You can't learn to pilot a plane by watching, per se, but you can learn a whole lot about words by watching others string them together in a compelling way. And get to know other writers, even if only through their words. Read multiple books by the same author (not a hardship if you like their writing, eh?) and study their style. It's amazing what you can learn by osmosis.
3. What is your current WIP? Can you tell us a bit about this project?
It's actually my Secret Project right now, but I will say it's also set in Europe, just a few years after the Steadfast Love series comes to an end... ;)
4. Have you ever traveled to do research for your novels? If yes, where have you traveled? If no, where would you like to travel to conduct research?
I have! Sorta! I'm a few chapters into a novel set in Charleston, SC, and I live not far from there. A friend and I went to visit one of the plantations around here, and that was a really fun experience. Not only did we learn a lot together, I learned that research trips are a blast. I highly recommend them.
5. How much research is involved when writing your novels?
That's a hard one! I don't calculate how many hours I spend researching, but I do read books both written during the time period and about the time period. Then I spend a lot of time Googling random things like sleeves and cider, LOL. For writers, I heartily recommend visiting your used bookstore or a library and delving in. You can never learn too much about your setting or history. You can research too much--don't get bogged down in it and not write. And you won't use all you learn, certainly, but you can never learn too much.
6. Who designed the covers for the Steadfast Love Series?
Roseanna White Designs! Roseanna is co-founder, one of the acquisitions editors, and main designer for WhiteFire Publishing, and she's fantastic.
7. What are you currently reading?
The Penned in Time series by Pepper Basham! Awesome look into the WWI era, a time period I'm not as familiar with. I recommend these books wholeheartedly :)
#TeamAnders Interview Question: How long have you known and loved Gwyn?
I've known her since we were children, and I've loved her just as long. Ever since my father visited hers and I found her singing in the stable, I've been drawn to her. We share more than our Catholic religion in common; we are also both fervent about what and who we love. And I love her.
Whose team are you on?
Interview with Jody Hedlund #2
About the Author
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.
As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.
She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.
Book Related Q&A
1. You’ve based A Daring Sacrifice a little bit on the Robin Hood story. What drew you to this medieval tale?
I've always loved tales about underdogs rising up against injustice. The story of Robin Hood encompasses such an element, where the poor are unfairly cast from their homes, forced into hiding, and must rely upon their fearless leader to fight for their rights.
Instead of a nobleman leading and fighting for the needs of the underdogs, I decided to add a twist and have my heroine, a displaced noblewoman, be the leader of a band of poor outcasts. As a skilled archer, she's gained a reputation as the "Cloaked Bandit" doing her best to protect and provide for the people she's grown to love.
2. Why Middle Ages/Medieval Times? What draws you to that particular era?
I’ve always loved fairy tales, castles, knights, and damsels in distress. I love the chivalry, honor, and courage that are so often displayed during that time. And I really like how stark and different their way of living was. It’s SO different than how we live that it’s fascinating.
Additionally, I love that the Middle Ages was filled with so much danger not only from wars and battles among kings and lords, but also due to the elements, harsh living conditions, and diseases. It was a time for plagues, dungeons, torture, and all the stuff that makes for a good plot!
3. How is writing for a YA audience different than writing for an adult audience? What are the similarities? The Differences: While many of my adult readers have enjoyed my YA books just as much if not more than my adult novels, I do get adult readers now and then who are surprised, maybe even disgruntled, with the fact that my YA books are slightly different than my adult novels. And I try to gently remind them, that they’re supposed to be different. First, my YA books are shorter, crisper, and less historically detailed. In fact, I’d almost go as far as saying that my YA are more fairy-tale world than true historicals. They contain enough detail to give a “flavor” of another place, but not too much to bog down younger readers. Secondly, my YA books are more plot driven than character driven. I’ve included battle scenes as well as some of the seat-of-your pants danger that appeals to the modern teen reader. I plunge my characters into desperate, life-threatening situations which, in the era of books like The Hunger Games, is appealing to modern readers).
A third difference is in how I'm approaching the heroine and the romance. My YA heroines are a bit younger and so they are more of a coming of age story where the heroine must grapple with some "growing up" issues. I’ve also tried to keep the romance very sweet and tender (as opposed to my adult novels that while clean, are more passionate in nature).
The Similarities: Whether my adult novels or YA, I simply want to tell a compelling story. I hope that I’ve been able to entertain and perhaps even inspire in both of my markets.
1. With your busy life, how do you find time to read?
Two words. Audio books. I have an Audible.com membership and I keep them in business. I have the Audible app on my phone so I can listen to a book at the quick touch of a button, rather than having to go to the library and check out CDs only to find that they’re scratched when I get them home into the CD player that only works half the time! Yes, having audio books available for quick and easy download is my comfort food.
2. Why do you write?
I write because I love telling stories. I love the quote by Toni Morrison because it sums up part of why I write: "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." Essentially I write the stories that I LOVE to read! Of course there are other, deeper reasons I write too. But that's one of the main ones.
3. You have five children, so you must have plenty of interruptions when you’re writing. How do you handle the interruptions?
Yes, I DO have MANY interruptions each time I sit down to write. If I waited for perfect conditions, however, I’d never write. I’ve simply made up my mind to work under the circumstances I’ve been given, even if they’re less than ideal at times.
One thing that helps is that I give myself daily word count goals. I block in work time as best I can every day, and then I stick to it. I also let my family know my schedule. And while I try to minimize the interruptions, I’ve learned that I just need to attend to whatever the need is (whether it’s a child needing a snack or the dog getting into the garbage, etc.) and then get back to my writing as soon as possible. In other words, I don’t let the interruptions paralyze me.
4. What three tips do you have for beginning writers?
1) Write the first book for yourself without worrying about rules or publication. There’s something about that first book (or first few) that helps unleash the creative side of story-telling.
2) Finish a book. There’s nothing like the experience of completing a book from first page to the last to help a writer move out of the wannabe category.
3) Study basic fiction-writing techniques. Check out fiction “how-to” books from a local library. Take lots of notes. Then put it all into practice by writing another book or two.
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