Interview with July Word Weaver Winner Heather Kindt, part 2

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your humble host

As part of the fanfare for our newest winner coming, I thought I’d sit down with our prior winner and get you up to speed on how the Word Weaver Writing Contest – and the subsequent publishing of her novel – has changed her life.

(See part 1 HERE)


Dan: Okay, back to your interview.

You’re a busy person. You have a full-time job. When do you make  time to write?

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author Heather Kindt

Heather Kindt: I try to write at night and on the weekends. I’ve taken two day off this year just for writing. My current health-kick has kept me from getting sick, so I feel like I can justify two days off for personal.

I like to write in my office. My husband gave it to me for Christmas last year. I love it and have if decorated with several Wizard of Oz themed things and a Route 66 sign.

Ha! That sounds awesome. We’re gonna need pictures of that

When I wrote the Weaver and Ruby Slips I had just finished my masters degree and I had a year when I was substitute teaching. I got a lot of writing done that year.

Nice

But that was a long time ago. What about now?

Like I said before, I watch a lot less TV. Have to watch Survivor, but I dedicate more of my evening time to writing. Of course there are interruptions. Like last night my son kept wanting to show me his Rubick’s Cube solves.

I’m also having to take more time for social media outlets, but I’m sure you know nothing about that.

There’s a learning curve to that, though. Social media takes a lot of time in the beginning when you’re learning it, and then much less time later on. Plus, you build “muscles“ so the type of things that take you an hour in social media at the beginning, you get better at them so they take much less time later.

My daughter has a slime business and has almost 400 followers on Instagram. I thought when I release the Weaver, I’d get her to advertise.

When would your first book of the trilogy be ready to be released and when will the entire trilogy be completed and ready? Just ballpark. Nobody’s  gonna hold you to these.

Well, the first book needs editing. I hope to have the other two done by June.

What was the hardest thing about putting together Ruby Slips and Poker Chips?

bookcover0001307-Revised-2The hardest part of putting together Ruby Slips was trying to figure out how to publish. A friend of mine was self-publishing, but I didn’t know how to start. That’s why winning the contest helped the story move off of my computer.

What is the hardest thing about writing for you so far?

The hardest part about writing is writer’s block. I read Stephen King’s “On Writing” and one thing that helps him is taking long walks. I started doing this in the middle of the day and I would think about my story hoping that the clean mountain air would give me some ideas.

Did taking the walks help?

Yes. It helped a lot. Usually when I got back to the house I was able to write again because I thought of an idea to keep my idea going on my walk.

What would you say is something most people who want to write a book don’t know? Something that you found to be different from what you expected?

One thing that people who want to publish a book don’t know is how much you have to hustle. I’m not social media savvy. I’ve had Facebook for a long time, but I hadn’t used Twitter or a blog. Honestly, setting up a blog was the hardest part for me.

“I think this was different than what I expected.

I thought a book would just sell itself.”

– Heather Kindt

If you dare: what are your hopes for this first book?

I want thousands, no ten thousand, no a hundred thousand people to read Ruby Slips and Poker Chips. I love the story and Dottie Gale. They both make me smile. If you enjoy reading it, please share it with others.

What “writing superstitions” do you have/do?

No superstitions

Here’s one I got asked on a radio interview and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it:

What’s one thing that people would never guess in a million years about you, something that you’ve never told anyone before?

During college I operated a roller coaster called the Yankee Cannonball at Canobie Lake Park in Salem, New Hampshire. I got the job because one of my supervisors had a crush on me and he told the higher supervisor that I should get the job because I have good eye-hand coordination being a softball pitcher.

That’s the thing people won’t guess.

How did you get into writing?

I never really had the desire to write a book or thought it was something I would do. Two things happened that caused a perfect storm. I majored in Elementary Education and Sociology. In 2007, I went back to school to get my master’s degree. I had to write a research paper every week. Sometimes it got tiring because I was working full time and both of my kids were small, so I wouldn’t put in as much effort and thought I would just accept a B. The thing was, I would still get an A. I got lots of great feedback from my professors.

The other thing that happened was

I read the Twilight series.

I know a lot of people think they are terrible, but I really enjoyed them and Stephanie Meyers inspired me to tell my own story.

– Heather Kindt

That’s when I started writing the Weaver.

Anything that inspires a story as good as Ruby Slips – and The Weaver – can’t be terrible.


Heather, we all wish you a ton of success.

You did what others dream about doing: putting your work out there and hitting a home run.

Ruby Slips is fantastic, and from what I’ve read so far, so is The Weaver. Remember us when you are on your yacht in the Caribbean.

Gang, you can follow Heather at these links

and be sure to grab a copy of Ruby Slips today by clicking HERE

We’ll have Heather back when The Weaver is ready for release.

An Interview with the July Word Weaver Writing Contest Winner, HEATHER KINDT

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your humble host

As we get ready to announce the newest winner of our Word Weaver Writing Contest, I thought it’d be fun to talk with the winner of our prior contest.

Heather Kindt did what you wanna do.She took a deep breath and entered my contest after sitting on her story forever. She took 1st place in the July Word Weaver contest, and like the winner before her,

that was the push she needed to publish her book, Ruby Slips and Poker Chips.

Now she’s living the dream – and learning the ins and outs of being a published author.

Pull up a chair. There’s stuff you wanna know here.


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DAN: What inspired Ruby Slips?

Heather Kindt: The most terrible principal I ever had. She had spiky blonde hair and rode a Harley.

I liked the main character a lot. Ruby Slips and Poker Chips was a fun surprise – and when I caught on to the parody element, I was completely hooked.

Why did you decide to do a parody-tribute to the Wizard of Oz?

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author Heather Kindt

I’m don’t really remember how it went the Wizard of Oz route. I think in my mind at the time she really seemed like the wicked witch to me. And I left a lot of her wickedness out of the book. She had an obsession with a different singer, but I changed it to protect the innocent. There are two other minor characters in the book that are based off real people, but their names are changed.

I ran into “Mr. Pellitier” the art teacher at the grocery store the other day. I told him he was in the book. He definitely wants a copy. He was one of my sounding boards that year and has a real caring and compassionate way about him.

There are a lot of ways to take the “bad boss” story; what obstacles did you encounter along the way? Like, did you find yourself at times trying to force something to fit the Oz framework?

It was fun to try to fit the story to the Wizard of Oz. I think the most difficulty I had was learning about writing. From the beginning, I wanted to backstory all the board members (who have really interesting lives), but they were minor characters. In the end, you as the reader only know Corbin and a little bit about Percy.

The most fun I had was developing the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion.

What does it look like if someone doesn’t have a brain, a heart, or courage?

How do they act?

– Heather Kindt

I also enjoyed finding ways to mimic the book. I love the part when Westward comes in and steals Toto from Dottie’s cassette player. Just like in the movie, the witch takes Toto from Dorothy at the beginning of the story. I also love the rescue scene, but I won’t go too far into that because you need to read the book.

Dottie’s my favorite character in the story, no doubt. I love the funny, snarky attitude. Do you have a favorite character in it?

I think other than Dottie, Shay’s my favorite character. I love that he stands up to Dottie and gives her a run for her money. I think this is what draws her to him.

What was the big difference in getting you to take your story from “polishing forever” to making the leap to decide to publish it?

The reason I decided to stop polishing my story forever was taking the leap to enter Dan’s contest.

– Heather Kindt

I’d sent another book of mine to multiple agents, but received lots of rejection letters. Life got in the way and I wasn’t writing as much. After all, I have a full time job, a twelve and a fourteen year old, and a husband. Life can get a little hectic.

Last Christmas my husband said he wanted to redo an “office” room in our house for me. I got to have creative license. The first thing to go was the dark brown paint – now it’s a pale blue/gray and a lot lighter in there. Much more welcoming.

When I won Dan’s contest, I started writing again. Dan critiqued my writing and helped me clean up my manuscript. With the help of Moyhill Publishing, my book went from a file on the computer to something for the world to read. It’s pretty exciting.

I think the other thing that helped was I didn’t know how to self-publish. I didn’t know how to create a blog or an author’s page on Facebook. The other person who has been extremely helpful with this is Allison Maruska She’s given me a lot of insight into what’s working and what’s not on my blog site.

And here’s a weird fun fact. In my brain, I’ve pictured Ruby Slips as a rock opera set to Bon Jovi music.

– Heather Kindt

I’ve even toyed with writing it into a script. Think about Dottie singing “It’s My Life” at the beginning and “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” at the end. That’s just my warped mind.

Hey, writing with a soundtrack is like the latest rage. Or it was a year ago. John Winston does it all the time and recently Allison Maruska mentioned she has certain music that she thinks of for certain scenes in her books.

So, the NEW series:

How far along is it and what is it about?

The Weaver is about a girl who learns that her characters are coming out of the book she is writing. She discovers a whole new world because being a Weaver doesn’t just affect her. There are others. One of her characters has the sole purpose of changing the ending of her book. I’ve written one and a half books out of the three book series.

Ha. Awesome. A menacing  muse.

But there are other roles like Watchers, Gate Keepers, and people gone rogue like the Wanderer.

A whole world. Rogue! That’s the word I was looking for. A rogue muse.

Definitely. And Laney’s book takes place in Revolutionary War times, so there’s that backdrop as well. She is going to college in Massachusetts.

The new series consists of: The Weaver, The Watcher, and The Ender. And The Weaver is done.

Yes.

What would your estimated completion be for the trilogy?

I hope by May or June.

That’s not bad. How long did it take to write the 1 1/2 that you have?

Huh!! 8 years, but that’s with not working on them. I wrote The Weaver before I wrote Ruby Slips.

Okay, so I should have asked May or June of what year. Got it.

This year. I’m writing a lot more now.

NEXT year. June has passed for 2017.

The Weaver is more YA paranormal romance…

That’s fine. Those are hot right now. Can’t say they will be in 8 years…

Dan!!!!

Do you know how it ends?

Roughly, I know how it ends. I love the ending of the Weaver because Laney has to make a difficult choice to save somebody. I am anticipating another cliffhanger.

That’s probably a good place to end a story.

And a good place to end part 1 of our interview with Heather Kindt!

Come back tomorrow to see the rest! Heather talks about the challenges of being an author and the new world it has opened up for her.

And check out Ruby Slips and Poker Chips right now on Amazon! (Makes a great stocking stuffer.)

Heather can be found at

See you tomorrow for Part 2 of our interview!

Another Milestone: 3000 Followers! THANK YOU!!

This is only a big deal because we just reached 2000 followers in March of THIS YEAR – but it took 3 years to get our first 1000 followers.

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3000 followers. Wow.

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pretty cool

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your humble host

So:

3 YEARS to reach 1000 followers

1 YEAR and 1 month to get to 2000 followers

9 MONTHS to get to 3000 followers

I don’t know; I think that’s pretty cool.

I used to look at people with 5000 followers on their blogs and wonder how the heck they did it. Now I’m on the way to being one of those guys. And rest assured, I’ll have 5000 followers soon, because if you add 1000 in 9 months, you’ll add another thousand faster than that, and then another thousand even faster. That’s just kinda how blogs work. Friends like and share, and their friends see it and like and share. If I were to guess, I’d say we’ll be at 5000 followers by December 31, 2018.

And how the big bloggers said they did it? (I know because when I was starting out, I’d write them and ask them.)

  1. Quality content.

  2. Engage with your readers. (Reply to comments, answer questions, and be friendly.)

After that, just be yourself and have fun. 

One blogger I loved dearly had 5000+ followers and she was so nice about talking to everyone! I was amazed. She admitted it took a lot of time. But it’s fun when the people act like friends.

Wanna know something else? The blog is currently at 57,447 views year to date for calendar 2017. We’ll easily get 1000 views when we announce the winners of the writing contest, and another thousand as we run all the stories they wrote. With my regular posts and all, that means unless something really bad happens, we’ll hit 60,000 views on the blog for the 12 months ended December 31, 2017.

60,000 views in 12 months?

Yep.

I look at all that and I wonder how we’ll top it in 2018.

But we will.

Because you guys are awesome and you’ll do what you always do – give me the guidance to keep making this blog the best it can be.

I’ve made so many friends through this blog, and had a chance to write a book with some of you, and work and grow and learn together…

HAVING A BLOG DID THAT!

So if you ever wonder if it’s worth the time and effort to blog, the answer is yes.

At least for me. And I hope coming here has been fun for you, too.

Thanks!

Word Weaver Writing Contest – WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT UPDATE!

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your humble host

I’m kicking around an idea, and I’d like your thoughts.

 

You know how at the Miss America contest they do rounds of winners?

They eliminate a bunch of candidates and narrow the field, eliminate another bunch and then they narrow it down some more…

…until they have only a few contestants onstage waiting to see who won.

Can you see my evil grin?

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Well I am doing that, but I am not letting the blog followers and others know that I’m doing it. I chose my group of finalists, and the celebrity judges are making their selections from that group, but the contestants don’t know where they are in the ranking.

I wonder if it would make it more exciting if I let everyone know who is a finalist before I announce the winners?

  • Like, say on Sunday the 17th I said here are the X number of finalists,
  • and then on Monday the 18th I said here’s who all won honorable mention – come back tomorrow (Tuesday the 19th) to see who got third place!
  • And then on Tuesday, I announce third place…

And I say come back on the Thursday the 20th to see who won the top slot, as promised in our November 1 contest announcement, and on Thursday I announce the winners of second place AND first place, in that order.

I’m looking at my original announcement and I said “winners will be announced on or around December 20” – I don’t think doing it this way would change that.

Previously I’ve announced everything in one day. If everyone has to come at one time to find out who won, does that get more people tuning in because they all think they might have won? Or is it better to stagger it out, Miss America style?

So here’s the dilemma:

Right now there is a large group of people who don’t know if they won or not. As soon as I announce a group, say, of eight finalists, all the other contestants know they did not win first place because they weren’t named as a finalist. Do those people stop tuning in?

Or does the excitement get bigger because they know they didn’t win but they want to know who did.

And the blog followers want to see the competition unfold.

So more people come to see the number one choice.

In our prior contest, we had about 1000 total people came to the blog between the day I announced the winner and the next day when the winning story was posted.

If I stagger the winning announcements Miss America style, do we get more people tuning in? (Because there weren’t 1000 entries. Or 500, if they all came both days.) We might get more people, though, because the audience for the contest is larger than the pool of contestants – by a lot.

There’s a reason they do the Miss America contest that way.

American Idol, same thing.

Survivor.

Followers of the blog would be on edge for days.

Hmm…

* * *   TENSION       DRIVES       STORIES  * * * 

And we’re all about trying new stuff here…

There’s one issue. Views might be down because the 20th is so close to the holidays. TV shows are in reruns during that time. We might get fewer views and think the experiment was a failure. This would have been the week to do it, starting a few days ago.

But, No Guts, No Glory.

What do you think? Go for it Miss America style starting Sunday, or do it all at once like last time?