Friday, October 25, 2019

Author Interview with Giveaway: Siren Song (The Chameleon Effect #3) by Alex Hayes

Book info:
Title:  Siren Song
Author:  Alex Hayes
Series:  The Chameleon Effect #3
Publication date: October 15th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Connell Kurēn doesn’t love being a paparazzo…
He’s a member of the most scorned profession in Hollywood, but he’s good at it, and a hard-ass to boot.
He might also be called an ambulance chaser, though not for the disreputable reason he chases celebrities. Connell has the ability to heal, and at the sound of a siren, he is drawn to those in need.
Life is just fine until his pushy paparazzi nature almost gets someone killed.
Rowan Bren suffers post-traumatic stress and a permanent headache following a near-death experience at the hands of her mortal enemy. After months, she still isn’t right, but she won’t be held back from seeking her bond mate, Con, any longer.
She travels to Los Angeles motivated to help her friend, Idris, with his brilliant plan to locate their missing people. But Rowan’s top priority in the City of Angels is to find Con. She doesn’t know where he lives, but she’s not worried, because her crystal will lead her straight to him.
When she trips into his world, she finds a man so different from the person she expects, she fears he might not be Con at all. That he might be possessed by an evil force like the one that almost killed her.
Siren Song is the third novel of the Chameleon Effect series.

Author Interview:
1.  What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start?  Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)?  If you plan it out, how do you do that?  Outline, notecards, post-it-notes, etc.?  

I’m a planner, for sure. When I started writing—and didn’t really know what I was doing—I would write scenes here and there, and eventually I’d have enough written down that I thought I could build an entire story. My first book, Ice Cracks, was written this way. It took ten years of writing and re-writing to get it finished.

Since then, I plan and make an outline. With my latest novel, I have half a dozen character, a physical route those main characters will follow in order to converge and a vague sense of what the climax of the story will be and how it will end. So, I have a start and a finish. I’m still working out the internal arcs of the main characters, and I have a few problems in my head that these characters will run into.

My next step is to create an outline, which will help me start to fill in some of the holes. From there, I will plan out all the necessary scenes to get my characters from where they are to where they need to go, each step of the way.

I tend to follow an iterative path in story development. I’ll visit several story forms, like the hero’s journey [Joseph Campbell] and the love story obligatory scenes [Shawn Coyne], and make sure all those stopping places along the way (inciting incident, midpoint, climax, etc.) are hit.

Once that’s done, I put together a few paragraphs on each scene so I know what needs to be accomplished, and then I can get started.

My main story building tools are Numbers, EverNote and Scrivener. I write very little by hand, but do keep a notebook nearby for sudden ideas that pop into my head. I also use the notes app on my phone quite a bit.

2. Do you edit as you go, or wait till you're finished before you edit?  How many times would you say you go over it yourself before having another set of eyes look it over? 

I do a bit of both. Sometimes I lose my way as I’m writing, so I’ll loop back to the beginning of the scene and edit my way back to where I left off and keep going. Sometimes, I’ll be on a roll and just keep going, getting the words out while they’re flowing.

After the first draft, I’ll read through the story a couple of time, review my notes on structure. I may create a new outline, if the story has shifted significantly in the writing, to make sure everything is still on target. Then I post it for my critique team.

3.  Are you part of a writers group that gets together and helps each other with their writing?

Yes, sort of. I belong to Scribophile, an online writer’s collaborative. I have a wonderful group of fellow writers I work with, and I have learned an immense amount by critiquing other people’s work. It’s absolutely a win-win situation.

4.  How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?

Seeds of stories will occur to me. It’s quite organic, really. I might watch a show on Netflix and really like some aspect of it. Maybe its theme or some character trait really resonates. Music is another huge influence. A line in a song can trigger a whole scene in my head or help distill an idea that’s been really nebulous.

5.  What tips do you have for aspiring writers?

Of course, reading books in your favorite genres and the genres you plan to write in is important, but also reading about writing craft. I’ve found that studying writing structure, style and method is what rocketed my writing skill forward.

Also, critiquing other people’s work and having others critique mine is paramount. I can’t say enough about that. Learning to accept criticism takes a bit of time. The ego is a fragile thing. But even if someone’s comments seems harsh or even cruel, there’s usually a nugget (or three) of wisdom you can glean. When I get the most irritated with feedback, it’s usually because my critiquer is spot on, but I don’t want to see it.

6.   What are your favorite:

Books/authors/genres - Alex Flinn, Kelley Armstrong, Ann Aguirre, Ann Osterlund, Dan Brown, Mary E. Pearson - Fairy tale retelling, romance, urban fantasy, dystopian, science fiction
Movies/TV Shows - All the Marvel movies, Doctor Who, Stranger Things, Dark
Music - Florence and the Machine, Charlie Puth, Sia, Einaudi, Rodrigo y Gabriela Sarah Mclachlin, Annie Lennox…
Food/Writing snack - cheese, bread, cheese, avocados, nuts, cheese… :-)

Author Bio:
Alex Hayes wrote her first fiction story when she was twelve. Inspired by her mother’s storytelling, she began work on her first novel, Ice Cracks, at eighteen.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. In her twenties, she moved from Marin County, California to Boston, Massachusetts, where she built a career as an IT professional in database engineering. In 2004, she self-published Ice Cracks, which became a semi-finalist in the 2005 IPPY Awards.
Alex splits her time between Grand Junction, Colorado and Guanajuato, Mexico. When she isn’t writing, she’s helping her partner, Lee, renovate a 450 year old hacienda. She is mother to one beautiful daughter and many wonderful cats.