How Do You Get Published as a Young Writer? Interview and Giveaway with Author Amanda Davis

amandadavisinterviewToday we have the privilege of interviewing Amanda Davis, author of the award-winning Cantral Chronicles. If you haven’t heard of her before, you may have heard of her father, Bryan Davis, author of the best-selling Dragons in our Midst series. I (Josiah) read Amanda’s first two books while in high school and loved their character depth and suspenseful plotting, so I was thrilled to get the chance to talk with her now about her experiences as a writer.

Amanda published her first book when she was only nineteen years old, so today we talk about her road to publication as a teenage writer and the challenges she’s had in editing her books. Keep reading onto the end of the interview to get the chance to enter a giveaway for Precisely Terminated, the first book in her Cantral Chronicles series.

Journey to Publication

KP: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Amanda: I believe I was fifteen when I decided I wanted to be a writer. When I was about twelve, I started touring with my dad, helping with the book tables and listening to him speak. After meeting people from so many places and seeing their reactions to his books, I wanted people to hear my stories as well.

KP: When you were still in your teens, what helped you the most as an aspiring author?

Amanda: My father’s writing lessons probably helped me the most in my writing journey. I took his classes a hundred times over, thanks to traveling with him. I often had to hear a new concept a dozen times before it would stick.

KP: What’s something you wish you knew as a younger writer? [Read more…]

KP Spotlight: Charis Etter

We are delighted to be presenting our fourth KP spotlight! In this installment we are featuring the lovely Charis Etter. Enjoy!kpspotlight

Kingdom Pen: What do you like the most about Kingdom Pen?

Charis Etter: The community and ideas from different writers like me. Also the picture prompts.

KP: How did you find out about Kingdom Pen?

CE: A friend told me about it.

KP: What is one thing you’d like to see added or expanded at Kingdom Pen?

CE: More picture prompts…

KP: Can you share three interesting facts about yourself?

CE: One, I am an American, but I grew up in northeast Asia. Two, I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember, but only started writing them down about five years ago. Three, one of my hobbies is horseback riding. [Read more…]

Interview with Steve Laube on Publishing Part Three

In this last part of our interview with publisher and literary agent Steve Laube, we discuss what advice he has to give to younger writers, what his essential writing resources are, and more! If you haven’t seen the first two parts of the interview yet, check out Part One and Part Two before watching the final clip!

Interview on Publishing with Steve Laube Part Two

In this second part of our interview with publisher and literary agent Steve Laube, we discuss what the publishing process looks like, what book deals and book negotiations look like, and what crazy stories he has to tell as a literary agent! If you haven’t already seen the first part of our interview, check it out here, then watch the next part below!

 

Interview on Publishing with Steve Laube Part One

Today we’ve got a special treat for you! Our very own Haley Long managed to run into Steve Laube at the One Year Adventure Novel conference earlier this year and get a video interview with him.

If you don’t know the name Steve Laube, you probably should. Laube has been a literary agent representing Christian books for several decades now, was named the AWSA Golden Scroll Editor of the Year in 2002, and also runs Enclave Publishing, which lists itself as “the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction.” If you’re interested in getting traditionally published in the Christian market in the future, especially if you’re interested in getting published in Christian sci-fi or fantasy, Laube is a must-know in the industry. I (Josiah) have been following his blog (stevelaube.com) for close to eight years now and have found it to be tremendously helpful in understanding the publishing industry.

Because we had to do this on the spot at the conference, the video footage isn’t fantastic, but the content is superb. So check out our video interview with him below and let us know in the comments what you think! We’ll be releasing Part Two of the footage on September 22nd and Part Three on September 27th.

 

Interview on Novellas and Marketing with Hope Ann

Today we have the distinct pleasure of interviewing Hope Ann, whose name you might just recognize as she’s been part of our writing team for a while now! She’s the author of two novellas, the second of which released about a month ago, and is talking with us today about her experience with writing novellas and marketing them. Her first novella, Rose of Prophecy, is available for free in digital formats, and we’re doing a giveaway for her second novella, Song of the Sword, at the end of the interview. So read on to learn what advice Hope has to give on novellas and marketing!

KP: What led you to become an author?hopeanngiveaway

Hope Ann: I’ve dozens of stories inside my head and I simply have to write them down because they’re too exciting not to share with others. I’ve loved stories and written for as long as I can remember, though it’s only in the past four or five years that I’ve become systematic and steady about it, with firm goals about how I want to inspire others with my writing.

KP: Who has influenced you most as a writer?

Hope Ann: Everything I read, watch, listen to, and see in the world around me influences and inspires my writing, but the greatest personal influence comes from my father. He’s always encouraged me in my writing, even if, at the same time, he sometimes points out things that sound too much like an unrealistic scene in a movie. He reads all my writing (at least everything that I deem written well enough for others to see). He lets me talk about writing even though there are times my ramblings are confusing even to myself. And, while expecting me to help around the house, he also understands that writing is my self-imposed job and makes sure I have time to do it. [Read more…]

Interview on Characters and Writer’s Conferences with Author Kim Vandel (plus Giveaway!)

So, about two months ago, I (Josiah) picked up this random indie book by a Christian author and absolutely loved it.  (You can check out my review of the book here!) After finishing it, I just knew I had to hear more from this author about how she wrote the book and what made her characters as vibrant and complex they were.  And after hearing her thoughts, I thought you all might benefit from hearing from her as well! So, below you’ll see the kimvandelinterviewresults of my interview with her, and if you read all the way to the end, you’ll be able to enter a giveaway for her book, Into the Fire (plus, she’s throwing in a bookmark and temporary tattoo as well because she’s just an awesome person.) So read on to hear her thoughts on writing characters and attending writer’s conferences!

KP: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

Kim Vandel: I was in seventh grade when I first had the “I want to be a writer” thought.

KP: In brief, what did your journey look like from knowing you wanted to be a writer to actually writing and publishing Into the Fire? [Read more…]

Kingdom Pen Interviews – Philip Yancey

His books had been in our house for years. But it was only a couple of months ago when I really took a closer look at them. After reading What’s So Amazing About Grace?, I was thoroughly convicted, challenged, and more determined to live a grace-filled life. And was also thoroughly captivated with Philip Yancey’s work.  phillipyanceypinterest

I had to read more. But first I wanted to tell him thank you. After contacting him through his website I wrote him a note in the comments section and then had the marvelous idea to get an interview with him!

After gracious months of emailing back and forth here is the wonderful result of the interview!

There is much wisdom to be gained from this seasoned, non-fiction author as his answers are chock full of writing advice!

Kingdom Pen: What is your personal testimony?

Philip Yancey: I’m in the process of writing a memoir, so you’ll get the full story one of these days (or years).  Unlike many testimonies, mine tells of a conversion from the church—from an angry, uptight, racist, legalistic church in the South.  As a Christian and as a writer, I’ve spent my life and career picking over the words and concepts I learned from that church, understanding them anew in the light of grace, and discovering the hidden treasures that were layered over.  I’ve found, sadly, that the church is as likely to turn someone away from God as toward God.  It’s amazing that God would turn over the mission of spreading the Good News to ordinary people like us, as we so often get it wrong. [Read more…]

KP Interviews – Tosca Lee

Last year at a writer’s conference I had the pleasure of hearing this creative woman give a few talks on the subject of writing. Given that she is a New York Time’s best-selling author I had to get an interview with her. I introduced myself after one of the sessions and through times of procrastination and several emails later here is the fruit of said interview. I found her answers quite interesting, very informative, and humorous. toscaleepinterest

I think I’m going to try her crazy stunt she pulled. 😀

Kingdom Pen: If you could only give one piece of advice on how to go about writing a book, what would it be?

Tosca Lee: Read a lot of good books that YOU like, and take notice of what works in it. And then start writing your own. Don’t go back and redo the beginning over and over—that is death. Write through to the end, even if it’s a shorter novel.

KP: Many authors have at least one embarrassing story to share about their first novels, short stories, or attempts at either. What was your first “big” writing adventure? Do you look back on it as something to be proud of, or is it something you tuck away into dusty corners and try not to talk about very often? [Read more…]

Interview and Giveaway with Daniel Schwabauer

Hey Kingdom Pen! We are excited to bring to you our very first book giveaway!  DSinterviewpinterest

I think it is very appropriate that our first giveaway is “The Curse of The Seer” by Daniel Schwabauer. For those who don’t know, Kingdom Pen, in a way, owes it’s existence to him, as the original founders of Kingdom Pen met through the curriculum he developed called The One Year Adventure Novel. With the addition of John Stonestreet, you could say Daniel Schwabauer is to Kingdom Pen what John Locke was to the American founding fathers.

If you’d like to be eligible to win a FREE copy of his book, “The Curse of The Seer,” then follow the directions below. But first! Check out this synopsis of the book:

Everyone thinks Eli is afraid of the dark, and they’re right. But it’s not because he can’t see in the dark; it’s because he can. After his father is murdered by kingsguard mice, Eli is tortured and condemned to death.
With the help of Tira-Nor’s old seer, AlBaer, Eli escapes his executioners and discovers that his mother, who was sold into slavery in Cadrid years before, may still be alive. Finding and saving her becomes his passion, but can he survive slavery, cruel taskmasters, foreign armies, the hatred of his own people, and even death itself? AlBaer can’t—or won’t—protect him from the supernatural evil that stalks him, and Eli must try to unravel the seer’s curse alone.

We are also excited to bring to you an interview Mr. S was so gracious to provide us. We hope you are enlightened and inspired as much as we were by his words.

 

Kingdom Pen: What compelled you to be a Christian author and teacher?

 

Daniel Schwabauer: I fell in love with stories and began writing in grade school, long before I became a Christian. I started teaching writing because I wanted to help young writers. It had taken me years to see that I needed to learn the fundamentals of storytelling, and I didn’t want anyone else to experience the same frustration of not knowing what their writing lacked.

Christianity is the defining trait in my life. It informs and shapes my view of life, humanity and all of reality. In that sense, I can’t help but be a Christian writer and a Christian teacher. But I didn’t set out to become these things. I determined to follow Christ, and also to write and to teach.

 

KP: Who has influenced you the most in your writing?

 

DS: This is very hard to answer because there is more than one crucial element to any writer’s journey. James Gunn’s classes at KU were extremely helpful, but I was also inspired by G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis.

 

KP: What makes a dynamic character?

 

DS: Short answer: whatever makes them truly human, or helps the reader to connect with their humanity.

Characterization techniques taught in writing classes often fall flat because they aren’t implemented in a way that resonates with readers. Writers try to push characters to the extremes of humanity in order to create a fascinating person, as if what we care about is someone’sedgy and unusual characteristics. This doesn’t work. Extremes don’t connect character and reader. Understanding does.

A high school quarterback character who bullies the hero is a cliche. You can’t humanize him by giving him purple hair and a love of ballet. These traits might look interesting on a character sheet, but very few readers will recognize him. He won’t resonate.

Instead, we need to see ourselves in him–or see him in ourselves. Why is he a bully? What made him dye his hair purple? What kind of ribbing does he take from his team when they discover he likes ballet? These are the things that will make him human: not the traits themselves, but the reasons behind them.

 

KP: What or who inspired the idea for your book series, The Legends of Tira-Nor?

 

DS: At the age of four my daughter was bitten in the face by a dog. It took two plastic surgeries and 39 stitches to fix the damage. Afterwards, I sat by her hospital bed reading the story of David and Goliath as she slept. She had frequently asked me to tell her stories about mice, so I decided to write a mouse version of David’s story that would embody the courage I saw in her. I meant to finish the novel in a few months, but it took me four years. The series grew out of that.

 

KP: In a novel, is it better to have more showing than telling? Why?

 

DS: Every novel uses both, but yes, showing as a mode of fiction is more effective for most scenes than telling.

Showing involves creating images in the reader’s imagination. Those images are evaluated by the reader’s reasoning faculties as they unfold.

If I write, “Sweat trickled down his brow,” you will see a concrete image in your mind, but your brain will interpret the sweat to mean something else (i.e., “that guy feels hot”). Thus, showing gets both sides of the brain involved in the story.

Telling, on the other hand, is purely conceptual. It doesn’t activate the reader’s imagination, so only one side of the brain is really “awake.” If I write, “he felt hot,” your brain doesn’t create any images on the screen of your imagination. You get the concept, but nothing else. Too many concepts and your readers will grow bored.

 

KP: With so many differing opinions on the subject, why do you strongly advise against using adverbs? Is it ever OK to use them?

 

DS: I advise against them because they are almost always used as a crutch. Most of the time, especially in the work of young writers, adverbs are there to strengthen a weak verb. It’s better to replace the weak verb/adverb pair with a stronger, more vibrant verb.

But yes, it’s sometimes okay–and even right–to use an adverb in fiction. Whenever you can’t get across the same meaning with a more active verb, use an adverb. But this is not as common as we like to think. Most of the time when I use adverbs it’s out of laziness.

 

KP: What is the key to writing a great novel?

 

DS: I don’t know.

 

KP: In my experience, I have found the editing process of a novel to be quite daunting; what do you suggest to be the best way to proceed?

 

DS: Plan for it to take twice as long as you expect. Most novels need more revision than their authors want to give.

 

KP: What would you consider to be the most difficult part of writing a novel?

 

DS: For me it’s getting the rough draft written. But I know people who have no problem cranking out words. Their issue is making those words readable.

So perhaps our universal struggle is against mediocrity. I think the truly great novels are a combination of an inspired idea and a depressing number of rewrites.

 

KP: What are your writing essentials?

 

DS: An inspired idea and a depressing number of rewrites.

Also:

Scrivener

A quiet room (my office)

Background music

Hope

The irrational conviction that my story is worth telling

 

And now, the giveaway!

 

To be entered in the giveaway, click the widget below and login with either Facebook or your email to see all the possible ways to enter. The more options you choose, the more entries you get, and the greater your chances of winning! Additionally, some entries you can make once a day to further increase your changes of winning.

This giveaway will run the 8th-15th, so enter while you can!

May the odds be ever in your favor!

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