Tuesday, August 25, 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON Raven Williams, Author

Hello Raven,

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was laid off from my last place of employment in 2010 due to outsourcing. I decided to get my college degree. It was late in life, but something I’ve always wanted to do. During my college career, I had to write many papers and found I actually enjoyed it and was quite good at it. I have been writing since.

How long does it take you to write a book?

The first book in my fantasy series took me well over a year to write. When I sat down to write it, the original story I wanted, would not come. After much on again, off again attempts, I finally stopped trying to force what I wanted and started listening to the characters. Once it was finished and published, I immediately started on the second book.

The second book took a matter of two months to write the first draft. The main characters of the story were eager for it to be told. After rounds of editing and polishing, the book was published within a little of three months of the first one.

While the second one was being editing, I immediately started on what I thought would be the third one. However, that one got put on hold rather quickly as two other characters stepped to the forefront. Their story took about four months to write and is in the final editing/polishing stages. It will release next month on September 25th.

As soon as the third book was in editing, I started working on three more. Along with the series, I have several companion novellas planned. I am almost finished writing the first of these and it has an expected release date of January. The second is also another novella which will be part of an anthology slated to release in July of next year. And the third is the fourth book in the series slated to release late 2016.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I am first and foremost a caregiver for a disabled family member, so his care and whatever he needs takes priority. However, it does give me more time to write than most. I write every day. Sometimes it is only an hour and other times it could be two, three, or more hours. It just depends on how talkative the characters are on any given day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I usually have my blurb for the book done by the time I am halfway through the story. The blurb, like the story, goes through many edits before it hits its final draft, but it helps me remember what my story is about.

As I also design my own covers, I usually will create the cover around the same time I write the blurb. I find having a cover to look at helps drive my writing.

How do your books get published?

I have self-published all of my books. I love the control it gives me and wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to choose when and where they are published. I am grateful for the self-publishing platforms as they have allowed me to live a dream I may never have pursued otherwise.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

The initial book of my fantasy series was inspired by thoughts that arose during my mind when watching the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. I’ve always had an affinity for Elves and not having had the opportunity to actually read Tolkien’s works up to the point, I had no answers to the questions I had. So, I started imagining my own answers, which led to other questions and my book was born.

As to the non-fiction and poetry, the essays were messages laid on my heart to share and the poetry arose out of the chaotic swirl of words always in my mind.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

It was 2010 and I was 39/40 years old. My initial writings took the form of blog postings. In 2013, I was inspired to take those essays and poems and compile them into a book, which I self-published in July of that year. Needless to say, once it was done, I was hooked and I never looked back.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Like most authors, I am an avid reader. I also create fractal art. I love watching the abstract designs take shape and form as I layer the mathematical equations. I find it to be quite relaxing. I started creating fractal art in late 2011 and have over 200 designs to date. An author friend recently suggested I set them up and sell them for those who might be interested in using them as covers and teasers. I’m in the process of doing so and should have the site ready to go by the end of the year, if not sooner. They are also set up as art prints and canvases through an online store.

What does your family think of your writing?

My brother, who I am caregiver for, things they should be made into movies. His childlike wonder is amazing and he doesn’t mine me writing because it gives him control of the television.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I found out my imagination is much more vivid than I thought. When I originally started writing, it was limited to non-fiction. I wanted to write fiction, but felt stuck. It was only after I stopped trying to force it, the words began to flow. Now I listen to and trust my characters and the words haven’t stopped coming. I’ve also found the stories and my writing gets better with each book I write. I think it’s mostly due to becoming comfortable and more sure of myself.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written eight non-fiction/poetry books and, so far, three in my fantasy series with at least twelve more planned in the series. As to my favorite, it’s always the one I’m currently writing.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Advice from others is good to a point. Trust your gut instinct, for it will never lead you wrong. Write the story you want to write and trust it will find the readers meant to read it. While rules are good, save them for the editing and polishing and throw them out while writing. Trust your writing process and leave others’ to theirs. Each writer is different and what works for one, may not work for you.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I have several readers who keep in touch. Some have given me great constructive criticism I have used moving forward. Others want to know when the next book will be out and their excitement motivates me to keep writing. Others want to talk about the characters. Some they love; others they hate. It’s fun hearing their thoughts.

Do you like to create books for adults?

I love fantasy. Always have; always will. I want to create books that all ages can read in a fantasy setting they can get lost in. While creating for just adults has an appeal for many authors, I want to appeal to all ages. I think many of our children have lost an interest in reading and all that comes with it. If I can create fantasy tales that draw them in and keep them engaged, then I have helped a whole generation of readers to move forward in their lives. That means something to me.

What do you think makes a good story?

What one considers good, another would not. I know for me, it has to keep my interest. If I get bored, I am not as invested in the story and don’t get as much out of it. I’ve read many a book lately that has not kept me as engaged as I would have liked. In fact, in the past seven months, I can only think of two that have peaked my interest to the point I’m waiting on the next book. I hope the stories I write engage the interest of readers as they do me when I am writing them.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I get asked this a lot. To be honest, I remember at around the age of six wanting to be a teacher, but lost that interest within a couple of years. After that, I never really thought about it. I knew I would grow up and work, but never really had my heart set on anything in particular.

Elf-Witch Synopsis and Buy Links:

A collision of worlds as destinies entwine.

At 35, Maia wonders if she'll ever fit into the human life she's living. She's always felt different, something more. The dreams and visions of Elves confuse her, leading her to seek answers. The Dragon-shifter Drago, soon learns news of his and his "father's" past that changes everything he ever knew about himself.

It is not long before destiny brings Drago and Maia together and they find themselves connected in ways they had never imagined. As the destinies of the human with Elven memories and the Dragon-Shifter entwine, they become drawn into a war between Dark & Light. Where will this quest lead them? Will any of them survive?

Second book in the Realm Jumper Chronicles, Elf-Witch, by Raven Williams.

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 Elven-Fire Synopsis and Pre-Order Links

Third book in the Realm Jumper fantasy series, Elven-Fire, releasing September 25, 2015.
War between Dark and Light is coming. Will the Universe fall into Darkness?
Unknown to humans, Earth stands on the cusp of war. One which could cause the Earth as well as the Universe to fall into Darkness. Elemence, leader of the Phoenix-Shifters, steps down from her position to lead her Warriors on Earth. Is it a decision she will live to regret?
Arlondyn of Elf-Kin volunteers for the Elven contingent on Earth. If there is to be war, he will do his part to prevent the shift to Darkness. Even if it means his death.
With war looming, each of the Elder Species must make a choice. The Elves and Phoenix-Shifters have pledged their support. Will the other species join them or leave Earth to its fate?
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Elven-Jumper Synopsis and Buy Links

Elwyndyn is a Moon Elf and a Realm Jumper. His mission; travel to the Earth, to assist humans experiencing dreams of another time; another life. When hearing their options, what will the humans decide?

Ayana is one such human. After her parents died. she meets a stranger with unusual eyes, eyes very much like hers, and everything she thought she knew changed. Before she knows it, she is on a quest to delve into her past lives. Will she like where this quest takes her, or is she in over her head?

First book in the Realm Jumper Chronicles: Elven-Jumper, by Raven Williams.

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