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Author Interview: Laurel Mojica

And so another brilliant author has been interviewed. I do this every so often for you readers, to get to pick up some advice and some techniques in writing. These authors that I have interviewed has a lot to share. I hope you do get some information on how to write and publish your own stories. I am glad I could be of help to a lot.

A little information about her:

“Laurel grew up in a small town in southeast Michigan with dirt roads and horses across the street, but only thirty minutes from the comparatively cosmopolitan Ann Arbor (home to THE University of Michigan).

She loves travel, both real and virtual, so has been fascinated by science fiction and fantasy novels her whole life. An English major in college (guess which university!), she also loves the moral tension that fills many of the classics and is a shameless fan of the dialog in Jane Austen’s novels.

On a Saturday, you can usually find her playing video games or watching movies with her family or, if it’s autumn, cheering on the nation’s winningest college football team.

On Sundays, and random other times, she volunteers with her church so she can share her excitement about God with students.” – copied from Goodreads.

The Bronze Mage – Laurel Mojica

And here’s the interview, go on and read her answers.

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

A: After I finished my second novel and realized it wasn’t that I wanted to write that particular story, I just wanted to write.
Q: How long does it take you to write a book?

A: It took a year to right my first draft, then another year to turn that draft into two books. (I had originally written The Bronze Mage and The Green-Eyed Mage as one book.) So, I guess it works out to about a year per book.

 

Q:What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

A: My most productive time is in the middle of the day, while my kids are at school. I also camp out at a McDonalds while my youngest is at basketball practice and write then. The problem is that all my chores pile up for several days, then I have to take a break from writing and try to catch up. Still, it works better for me to be behind on housework than to lose time with my family.

 

Q: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

A: I’m very visual, so I sometimes act out scenes so I can figure out how the characters would actually move. Also, I close my eyes when I’m thinking through important scenes, which is why I can’t write when I’m too tired–I’ll fall asleep mid-scene.
Q: How do books get published?

A: We have our own publishing company, so after it’s written, proof-read, edited, and test read, I submit it to the booksellers myself. It’s very nerve-racking and very exciting.

 

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

A: I get ideas from around me. Most of them are sparked by things I see–landmarks or weather.
Q: When did you write your first book and how old were you?

A: I started writing it a few months before my fortieth birthday. When I was single, I used to write all the time, but I never finished anything. Once I married, life was busy and I never really thought about it. I continued to read whenever I had the chance, but I’d stopped writing. Lately, though, I’ve been wanting to create worlds and people them myself. I’m not sure what triggered that change exactly, but it feels like I’ve spent my whole life listening to other people express their dreams and now I want to create my own.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

A: So many things! I love reading, of course, and watching movies. I love travel and exploring new places. I love working with the students at our church.
Q: What does your family think of your writing?

A: They’re supportive, of course, though my boys don’t willingly read my books. My husband is the one who talked me into publishing in the first place.
Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

A: I was surprised by how sometimes the words just flew onto the screen and other times it took hours to write a few sentences. Even when I knew exactly what I wanted, sometimes the words would not cooperate. I always was a bookworm and I thought the hard part would be thinking of what to write, not expressing something I could envision so clearly.
Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

A: I’ve written two, but I’m not sure I could pick a favorite since they’re really still one book in my mind.
Q: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

A: Nothing you haven’t heard already: read and write. Read authors who are known for excellent writing, even if they’re not in a genre you would normally pick up. I read a lot of audiobooks, because that’s what I have time for, but I also read ebooks and print books when I can.
Q: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

A: No, not really, but I’d welcome it.
Q: Do you like to create books for adults?

A: I certainly hope an adult could enjoy my books, but I aim for young adult readers. There are so many important decisions that are made in the teens and twenties, it’s hard to resist writing for and about that time span.
Q: What do you think makes a good story?

A: My definition of a good story is one that takes you somewhere that feels real and challenges you to be a stronger person.
Q: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A: It changed a lot along the way, but for a long time I wanted to be an inventor or a missionary, preferably a missionary who invented things. If I’d been the person who founded http://www.raincatchers.org I would’ve been thrilled. (Since that turned out not to be in my ability range, I’m very grateful it was in someone else’s!)
Q: While working fulltime, how do you find time to do all the research for your books?

A: I don’t work outside the home right now and I’m very grateful for the flexibility that gives me.
Q: For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain dos and don’ts for getting their material published?

A: We live in an amazing time where anyone with a computer and an internet connection can self-publish. So the question isn’t “how do I get published?” but “how do I know if I should publish?” Everyone loves their own books or they wouldn’t have spent so much time writing them. Find someone who isn’t a close friend or relative, whom you’re not paying, who typically reads the genre you write. Give her your first chapter. Thank her for whatever she says about it. But don’t publish it unless she asks if she can read the rest. That’s one of the roles an agent serves in traditional publishing, but a agent is also considering markets and costs. There’s hardly any cost in self-publishing, so if your book is written well, it’s okay to publish for a niche market. Even if you don’t sell a million copies, you might add a little “bonus” to your monthly income.
Q: How old were you when you decided to become a writer? If it was later in life what gave you the final push?

A: I began writing again just for myself. The story grew into a novel and then expanded into a duology. Once my husband convinced me to publish, about six months into the two-year process, I thought it would be a fun way to make a living. I started looking into what it would take to become an excellent writer, hopefully a reasonably-paid one, but it wasn’t until I published the second novel that I realized how much I wanted to keep writing.
Q: What do you consider invaluable resources for an aspiring writer?

A: Scrivener is an amazing writing tool. I honestly don’t know if I could have completed my books without it. I’m a bit scatter-brained and it helps me break my story into logical chunks as I need to see it. There was one part in The Bronze Mage where I kept losing track of how much time had passed, so I broke every day into its own sub-document to help me out. Yet I could still edit them as if they were the same document whenever I wanted, really easily. The notes, tags, etc., saved my sanity, not to mention the ease of choosing whether to “publish” as a pdf for proof-readers, an ebook for Nook or the iBookstore, or a mobi file for Kindle. Oh yeah, and it’s cheap! Right now it’s $45. Back when we bought it, it was $30. SO WORTH IT.

If you made it all the way to the end, you’ve earned a piece of chocolate! LOL
Thanks again for the opportunity to share my experiences.
-Laurel

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I hope you enjoyed reading the interview. Watch out for other interviews to come, there would be a lot more. And don’t forget to check out her book. It looks very interesting and seems like a good read. Happy weekend!