It’s Author Interview Thursday! Yeah! I was involved in a conversation with a friend who was having a few challenges pushing their business to the next level. My 2 cents to their dilemma was that they had to SEE themselves closing deals, winning clients and making bumper sales. I added that they also had to stay in their lane and believe that their daily positive actions would eventually bring the future they desired. I believe this laser-focussed mindset is embodied by our special guest in the hot seat today. She writes in the fantasy genre and aligns her marketing efforts to establish this. I was fascinated by the fact that she co-writes her books with her sister, Toni Burns. I was introduced to her by Sharon Ledwith who was our featured guest several moons ago. I’m so glad Sharon did as she’s an author who generously supports other authors. She has so much good stuff to share with us today. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Lisa Fender.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.
Thanks David for having me as a guest on your blog! I’m looking forward to meeting some of your followers!
Let’s see, I live in Golden Colorado and love it here. I’m married to Rick, and we’ve tied the knot twice, with each other that is, and he has 3 kids and I have 2. We both have grandchildren, but we were young grandparents. In fact, we are both “big kids”. We love hiking, camping, fishing, and the like, and our favourite relaxation is to go to the hot springs in the mountains and soak and enjoy the fresh air.
The first time someone complemented me on my writing was when I was still a teen. I had written some poetry and read it to a friend of my mothers’ who was an author herself. Her name is Autumn Stanley and she has a famous book in several of the university’s across the country. She was also an editor for Stanford University years ago. She’s a wonderful woman and when I finally published Fable, I sent her a copy, and of course, she sent it back with marks for me to fix. My sister and I had to laugh, we knew she couldn’t help herself, and we fixed most of her edits and republished.
You can expect not your usual story, for one. I didn’t want to write the same type of urban fantasy, or dystopian fantasy that everyone else was. Instead of the “A” typical vamp or werewolf, I decided to do a take-off of the Djinni, but not one in the bottle, but a race of beings in another dimension. These beings keep the balance of both our worlds and are threatened by a faction in their side of the portal, and are threatened by what we are doing to our planet on this side.
For two, we really pride ourselves of trying to make sure that the writing is as good as any traditional published work. We have two critique partners and after we think we have the chapter the way we want it, we send it to a friend of mine who is an author, and he goes over the chapter. Once the book is finished, Toni and I go through it once more before it goes to our professional editor.
We want to make sure it’s tight and an enjoyable read for whomever takes a chance and reads our books.
You co-write books with your sister Toni Burns. Can you tell us a unique challenge this situation presents and how you both overcome it?
Actually, the challenge is we are sisters and fight once in a while. But when it comes to writing we are spot on with each other. For some reason we really click and are in each other’s minds when we write. We have a system that works for us. I write the rough drafts, and then go through and clean them up a little. Then she and I go over each line and brainstorm together the way we want the story to go. It works great for us.
You write in the Fantasy genre which is very popular and competitive. What advice would you have for someone who wants to write in this genre?
Of course, make sure you put out a high quality book. You need to pay for a professional Editor. It’s the only way. I’ve read quite a lot of self-pub books and the mistakes and head-hopping stick out like a sore thumb, for me anyway. Next, try to come up with something unique. Sure there are going to be certain types of “guidelines” to your story. For example, if you’re writing epic fantasy, there will probably be a type of kingdom, and swords and bow and arrow will be the main source for weapons, but you can still come up with a new angle.
This is one of the toughest parts to being a writer these days. I have pounded my head against the desktop more than once and it can leave you with hurt feelings and misguided advice. I have been studying the social media concept here lately and I believe the best way is through email contacts, either newsletters, or some type of fun interaction with your readers. Facebook used to be a great place, but now they have changed their reach for your fans. These days you’re lucky if more than 40 people see your posts at any given time.
They want you to pay for Facebook advertising and even that doesn’t amount to much more of a reach. Twitter is tough too because you have thousands following you and you them. How many of your followers’ posts do you click on and read? Not too many usually, so probably not too many are reading yours.
This is such a tough business so my advice is to try and set up a way to personally reach your readers.
What were some of your favourite books as a child?
This is such a long list; I don’t know where to start. I was always a big reader. I loved all the Disney classics, Snow White, etcetera, but I also liked the Boxcar Children and the Hardy Boys. I think my favourite was Wild Things and Charlotte’s Web.
What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue?
Dialogue should sound natural. Watch the way people talk with each other and try to bring that out in your writing. You don’t want it stiff.
Two, use more action tags than “he said, she said” tags. Especially if you like to use other words besides “said”. They can take the reader out of the book.
Three, don’t add too much character’s thoughts in between each dialogue speech. It’s annoying.
To me success in life is the people who surround you with love, and care about you. I think it’s the same with being an author. I think the more popular you get the more people love you. To have people tell you they love your story is so wonderful! If you can build from there and gain more and more fans, you are successful.
What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?
There are several. I think the Europeans are much better with great acting and writing than we are. Harry Potter had some great acting, as did Lord of The Rings, and even Game of Thrones. Their acting is powerful and believable. My writing couch was English and she taught me the way they are taught across the pond. She really instilled in me the creative writing skills you need to have a clear and tight book.
Toy Story or Shrek?
Another tough question…I guess I have to say Shrek. Love him!
What three things should a first time visitor to Colorado do?
Go to the mountains and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Enjoy a hot springs pool, and if you like skiing then this is a great place for it.
We are revising the second book in our Lorn Prophecy series, Lore. We hope to have it ready to publish by the end of the year…we’ll see. I am also plotting Lore ahead so that I can start writing the rough draft for the third book in the series. I have also written ten chapters in the next compendium for the Djenrye Chronicles, which are side books about our made-up world, Djenrye. It’s been a lot of work, but I love it! We do have one of the compendiums published – Fated. It’s the first in that series.
Where can readers and fans connect with you?
I am on the usual hangouts,
And my Blog: http://www.lisafender.com
We are building our website as we speak and hope to have it up and running in the next couple of months. We will have an interactive blog to get people involved with the story and writing. I’m really looking forward to it! We will be sending out invites to join our email list by the end of the week.
Just like wine, every good thing takes time. Give yourself a break and just be consistent in what you’re doing to gain fans. It might take a while, but being relentless is the answer.
Thanks again for having me as your guest David! You’re a great host and good luck with your books!
Thanks for spending some time with us today Lisa. You really have opened my eyes to a few things I wasn’t aware of. I love the fact that you’re in this for the long haul and are not putting any pressure on yourself to be an over-night success. As Lisa stated in the interview, the best way she considers to reach out to her readers is to have them on her mailing list. If you want to see how she structures her emails and interacts with her audience, click the link below to join her mailing list.
You can also read the full description and pick up one of her books at the link below