Author Spotlight: Lisa Blackwood and Craig A. Hart

Author Spotlight: Lisa Blackwood and Craig A. Hart

We have so many amazing and talented authors here at Instafreebie, and we’re really excited to introduce them to you. Instafreebie’s Author Spotlight gives readers the chance to meet some new authors and see it first before anyone else!

Lisa Blackwood – Fantasy Author

Ishtar’s Blade by Lisa Blackwood

Ishtar's Blade by Lisa Blackwood

1. What inspired you to write “Ishtar’s Blade”?

I’ve always wanted to write a fantasy romance novel with gryphons and I’ve always loved ancient cultures and you can’t get much older than the dawn of civilization. So basing a fantasy series on ancient Sumerian and Assyrian mythology just made sense. (Plus, Lamassu are cool.)

2. How many hours a day do you write?

Depends. Some days I’ll write from morning until the wee hours of the night; other times I might not write a word for a week or more. But there are a lot of other author-related activities like social media and marketing that can suck up a lot of time. Finding a balance is key, and that’s something I haven’t mastered yet.

3. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?

My first book took me fifteen years to write. My second book took six week for the first draft, but almost another year and a half before I polished and published it. My more recent novels have taken about three or four months each. The difference being the number of hours I put in each day (an average of ten hours a day-I’d guess).

4. What motivated you to become an Indie author?

Ten years ago, I was a member of an online writing workshop where I met some great up and coming authors. I watched their careers as some were picked up by traditional publishers and others went indie. Around the same time, my first book was picked up by a small press, but it was the success of those early indie authors that pushed me to go it alone with my second series. Of the two, my second series did much, much better. So after that, I went entirely with indie publishing and have no regrets.

5. What do you do when you have writer’s block?

Truth-I’ve never actually had writer’s block. In the past, it has always been a lack of time and lack of discipline that have prevented me from producing the massive word counts some authors manage. But if I ever do get writer’s block, I image I’d just start a new project and circle back to the other novel later. Time and distance can do wonders for rejuvenating creativity.

Craig A. Hart – Thriller Author

Serenity by Craig A. Hart

Serenity by Craig A. Hart

1. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
It usually takes me two months to write a book from idea genesis to end of the first draft. Then I edit and revise to create a second draft. Then I send it to my editor, who does her thing. Once she sends the edited manuscript back, I make the changes and go over it again. The entire process takes around three months.

2. What motivated you to become an Indie author?
I love having the freedom that being an Indie author provides. I have complete control over my work, from manuscript to cover to marketing strategy. Some have no desire to have that much responsibility-admittedly, it is a TON of work-but I relish the creative freedom this affords. Or maybe I just have control issues. Indie authors also have more flexibility in what they write. Traditional publishers are always trying to gauge and chase the market, which is fine if you’re an author writing what happens to be hot at the time, but that approach also leaves a lot of great storytelling on the table.

3. Why should I read “Serenity”?
If you like fast-paced action, real characters who interact in real ways, high stakes, and a sprinkling of humor, then you should enjoy the book. The good news is that it is the first in a series, so once you fall in love with the cast of characters, you can follow them right on through to the next adventure.

4. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Writing is not an easy gig for anyone, indie or otherwise, so you’ll need to have faith in yourself and the grit to keep going when things look impossible. There is plenty of rejection to go around, so you’ll have your share-but don’t let that define you as a writer. You are responsible for creating your own writing identity-don’t let others do it for you. Take feedback and criticism graciously, but always listen to your heart when it comes to implementing change. And, most importantly, don’t lose your sense of awe for the written word.

5. How do you define literary success?
Literary success is getting words on the page. If you do that, you’ve successfully created something unique. Now, beyond that, I have goals of my own, milestones I push toward to keep myself motivated. But I think there is a danger in defining literary success too specifically, because then anyone who hasn’t reached that level is not, by implication, a “real writer.” This is partly what I meant by not letting others define you as a writer. Once we start doing that, we give other people control over our entire creative process. It’s the one thing I dislike most about some traditional publishing. It often-but not always-seems to feel that anyone outside of its gates cannot be considered a literary success. That isn’t true, certainly not these days. We’re living in a different publishing world.

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