I am excited to announce a new anthology: 31 Days of October: A Haunting Collection of Hallowe’en Tales. This book is filled with 33 short stories by 23 writers each with suspense and that feeling of relaxing by a crackling fire telling ghost stories. Below is an interview with one of my co-writers and organizer, Shae Hamrick. I hope you will enjoy my offering in the collection, Night of Shadows, and Happy Hallowe’en!
Shae was born in Kansas, raised in Oklahoma, and transplanted in Texas after a short tour in the U.S. Army. Her husband, Mark, and two children keep her active and busy with school and events. The focus of Shae’s career has been in the electronics and telecom industries, but mostly, she loves to create stories.
I was wondering where you get your story ideas?
Stories often come to me in random events that happen around me. Usually it is more about how people react to situations rather than the event itself. But for my anthology stories, I tend to take the prompts given and see if I can find a new and different way to use them, often brainstorming several ideas and scenarios before settling on one. The important thing, when I’m creating, is to develop the reactions that I’m looking for in the characters in order to create a specific response in the reader.
Starting with the second question first, I’m mostly a pantser with a little plotting on the side. Once I have a basic idea of the type of scene and characters I want, I often plot out a rough outline of where to take the story. Then I release the hounds and follow the trail. It’s often a wild and crazy ride. Watch out for that low hanging branch!
Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
Depends on the idea. For my asteroid story and my volcano story, I had to do some research. So first I decided what reaction I wanted from my characters and then research the possible settings that would create that response. Other stories though, such as my medieval works or contemporary settings, I really have all the basics and can just take off at a trot and see where it goes. Then if I need something specific, I can go back, do my research, and correct for that detail. For my medieval stories, I did create a whole world for them, maps, herbology, language, and all. But I didn’t do that until I was quite far along in the story and needed those details nailed down. I really like the research though and have to be careful about not getting side tracked.
Daily. Uhm. Yeah. I used to have lots of time after work for that, particularly when the kids were doing homework or were in bed. They are grown now and there is a lot less time. So I get to edit or write after everyone is in bed and the house is all mine. So mostly, I don’t always get to write daily but on my weekends I can squeeze in more time.
Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision. If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?
Nope, but I would love to be a full time writer. Unfortunately, finances and circumstances have not aligned to allow me to move to writing full time. I am working to get there and have a 5 (or 10) year plan but I am leaving that up to God’s design. I have the impression that I may not ever get there but hoping to eventually be able to part time work a “day job” and part time work my writing. I miss my worlds and characters some times. But I also have a passion for the special needs individuals and would like to shift to working in that area as my “day job”.
Well, that’s a long story. I have several short stories published in the Giant Tales books (a Writer’s 750 group from Linked in and now working out of Goodreads). It was a lot of fun. But my novels are still a work in progress. Mostly because it’s harder to edit 80k to 100k novel than to edit a 750 word short story in 15 minutes. But I have an agent who is interested in the novels. So we will see. The 31 Days of October Anthology is my first self-published adventure as a publisher. It really makes you appreciate all the work that the traditional publishers go through to get a book out.
What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
31 Days of October is a collection of Hallowe’en and Suspense stories. There is a melting pot of genres from Horror to Romance. Most are 15 – 20 minute reads. Some are longer but well worth the time. We have a poem and a literary story as well. The back of the book are the stories that will give even the most hardened adult a chill down their back.
I have four short stories out in four Giant Tales Anthologies including “Rain” in Giant Tales Dangerous Days: Tales of Climate Change and Crowns, “Baruthian Attack” in Of Past and Future, “Embers for Amber” in Lava Storm in the Neighborhood, and “The Mystery of the Sinking Ships” in Final Ships in the Neighborhood. I also have several articles from 2009 and 2010 at The Christian Pulse.
As an author what inspiration or advice would and you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep going. The hardest part is struggling and not giving up. Try out new genres. Take classes every chance you get, even if you have taken it before. Buy conference/teaching audio/videos and listen to them over and over, in the car, at home, wherever. And above all, keep writing. Short stories are a good test of new skills and provide practice. They teach you to write tight and avoid the unnecessary. But if you have a passion for telling stories and making up worlds, keep writing. You will get there.
I used to say flying because I always dreamed of being able to just fly someplace or to get away from something in my dreams. But as an author, I think invisible would be really cool. I used to find a “corner” of the room that lots of people were gathered in and watch them. I like people watching and get lots of inspiration for both characters and stories. But I would really like to have magical powers, like Genie in I Dream of Genie. Then I could just nod my head and have the house clean itself.