Some of you may recall that I interviewed Ms. Chadwick on Friday, here, and she has returned the favor. Check her site and books out, they are great! She asked a lot of interesting questions, too. Her interview is here. If you aren’t a member of Goodreads, I’ve included the interview, slightly edited for length, below.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your latest novel, cover art, illustrations.
Hi! Thank you for interviewing me. It’s an honor. I live in Tucson, Arizona, and I work in customer service but write and draw every chance I get. I’ve been drawing ever since I was tiny, and writing since I learned to type. I love cats, especially my floofy, crazy calico, and live with my partner of nearly 13 years. She helps me edit my books and is an artist herself. My latest novel is a book called “Rageth,” which is about a call center worker who has to deal with a ghost haunting her phone lines. My latest book, though, is “Self Publishing Made Easy,” which I’ll say more about later.
2. What inspired you to be a writer, artist and/or illustrator/ to get into indie publishing? How long have you been writing and/or illustrating? How long have you been published as an indie author? Has your cover art or illustrations been published? If yes, then where? If not, would you want it to and in which publications or websites?
As far as my art goes, I’ve been doing it so long it’s just something that’s part of my life. My wonderful partner, however, is the inspiration to keep improving it instead of staying in one spot and resting on my laurels. That’s true with both writing and drawing. I’ve been illustrating for perhaps fifteen years, though I started drawing thirty five years ago, roughly. I’ve been writing for perhaps fifteen years as well, and have been serious about it for about five. My cover art is on several of my own books, as well as on and in books by two other authors. My art has been featured in Venue Magazine of Moses Lake, Washington, on the front of a martial arts studio, on a parade float, at a couple of Star Wars fan sites, and of course on my own sites.
3. Who are your writing mentors/authors/artists/illustrators? What genres do you enjoy writing and what genres do you like to read? Are you an avid reader/reviewer and/ or appreciative of other authors, artists and illustrators?
The closest thing to mentors were probably my high school writing teacher and my parents. An author I truly respect is Richard Marius, who wrote the excellent book “A Writer’s Companion.” As far as illustrators, I was truly inspired by the work of Wendi Pini of ElfQuest when I was young, though now I have too many to name. I enjoy writing Science fiction, light modern horror, fantasy, and non fiction essays. I enjoy reading military sci fi, regular sci fi, modern horror, non fiction essays, history, and alternative history. I do truly appreciate the work that other artists, authors, and illustrators do because every time I look at or read something, it has the potential to teach me.
4. Have you ever co-written, or considered collaborating with your artwork on a project?
My spouse and I are planning a collaboration on a novel right now, which will be a military sci fi setting. We’re batting ideas around about worlds and cultures, ship designs, weapon designs, things like that. I’ll be doing a lot of the writing, she’ll be doing a lot of the 3-d rendering of the art. We have another novel we’re thinking of that will be more of a true writing collaboration, a cyberpunk story.
5. What are your dreams and aspirations that could drive you forward on this writing/publication and illustrative journey?
They are twofold. One, I simply enjoy writing and doing art, and I dream of being able to do that more. Two, I would like to be able to make some income when I have gotten older and have become too feeble to do traditional work. With today’s economy I can’t expect a pension so I would love to still be able to support myself. Of course, it would also be fun to see my work all over and have people be able to enjoy it!
6. Do you prefer to do marketing and promotion yourself for your works or would you rather have someone else control that spectrum? What are some of the things you have done to promote and market yourself?
I do my own promotion. I’ve used handbills, author interviews, advertising on my own sites, and also had some luck with the promotion that Amazon automatically does when you publish a book. I’ve also done a couple of free eBook promotions, posted on various fora about my books, and done a Goodreads Giveaway. I haven’t seen the benefit to paying for large amounts of advertising, since it often doesn’t seem to pay off.
7. What is your greatest accomplishment as an author, cover artist, and illustrator?
I think my greatest accomplishment was completing The Dice of Fate. I worked hard on the cover painting, made illustrations for the interior, and spent months working on the interior. I also took my editor’s advice and made neccessary changes when she pointed out serious flaws in the story. Anyone who’s written a story and then taken it to an editor knows what I mean! That project brought together all three aspects of what I do.
8. What’s the next writing and or illustrating project(s) you’re working on?
I’m putting the finishing touches on a modern horror novel about a call center worker, a metalhead, and a ditzy nurse who have to save Tucson from a spectral presence who possesses the phone lines. It’s kind of a dark comedy with serious elements. I’m also slowly getting a fantasy novel into shape, which is about a mage’s apprentice who unexpectedly finds a winged horse, and must find a way to win her freedom. I don’t have any illustrating projects at the moment, thought that could change at any time.
9. How would you balance creativity with the business side of writing and illustrating such as coming up with particular concepts and solutions to stand out among the crowd in this writing/publishing/illustrating industry where ‘popularity’ is key, if your idea wasn’t exactly popular/or was unknown to the readers/publishers/art galleries and other art websites?
I try to do things a million people haven’t done, or if I do something that’s been done, I try to do something different with it. Then in my description I try to pique the reader’s interest and show them why I’m a bit different. I have noticed though, that there are a fair number of people who really want more of the same thing they already liked, so complete innovation may not always be needed. Being original is still important but sometimes it’s okay to fit into a genre. It’s easier to sell when you can quickly and clearly state what you have to sell, rather than fitting something into ten different genres.
10. Have you ever been traditionally published? Would you consider it? Or feel like a sell out if you took a traditional deal and abandoned indie publishing? Have you ever thought about being a hybrid, part indie, part traditional published? How would you feel about such an opportunity, if both or either of these things happened? How would you feel if your artwork was featured on a prominent art website or gallery opening?
I’ve written articles and made illustrations that were traditionally published. I haven’t had any novels or stories published that way, though. If I were approached for a publishing contract I’d read it thoroughly and take it if the terms were right. I’d always stay at least part indie, though. I’d feel honored and be glad that someone approached me in that way. If I were featured on a prominent art website, I’d be stunned and pleased, and a gallery opening is my secret dream. Of course, that’s unlikely because my art is so “lowbrow,” ha ha!
11. What other creative talents do you have besides being a writer and illustrator? Do you paint, build sculptures, etc. What kind of artwork do you do (ex: conceptual art, sketches, etc.)
I paint in both acrylics and watercolors. I draw in pen and ink, which is the bulk of what my illustrations are done in. I also enjoy markers, colored pencils, graphite sticks, and chalks on black background. I do sketch, sometimes just to rough out a concept, but will often finish them in ink.
12. What advice would you give other aspiring authors, cover artists and/or illustrators?
First, never give up. The most successful people in the world are not the most talented, but the most persistent. Second, in all you do, always strive to do a little better than you did before. Third, welcome all learning opportunities of all kinds. Fourth, if you’re a freelancer, don’t give friends and family deep discounts. Once you start down the discount path, forever will it dominate your destiny, because they’ll pass their own discounts on to others and your fees will be eaten away. And finally, never give up.
13. Describe yourself in a one-sentence epithet.
Nightmare to both sides – a sandal-wearing, Lesbian, Anarchocapitalist, Atheist gun nut. LOL!
14. Paying it forward. What things do you do in your community/ and other communities to help others?
I said I’d mention “Self Publishing Made Easy again. I wrote it to help my fellow indies. I wanted people who are new to self publishing to have a really cheap (99 cents) resource that will save them from many of the newbie pitfalls and make sure they do everything needed to write and publish a successful book. As far as paying it forward, I’ve begun hosting fellow authors on my blog, and I also participate in various charity events held by my day job. In one of our recent events, we donated a school bus load of supplies to local kids in need. I bought a whole bunch of notebooks and put post-its with inspirational messages inside, for my contribution. I love finding creative ways to help my community, whether it’s my local community or my online one!
Social Media Links:
Art site: http://rohvannynshaw.com
(To view the whole, unedited author interview including bio, check out Angel’s Goodreads page!)