It is a very special pleasure for me to welcome you back to ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’. During your former visits, we learned about your writing, and your writing process and asked for some advice. But there are so many more questions to ask!
We want to find out today, what new sides we will unveil:
- Is there something on your desk, or in your bag, that you consider a ‘mascot’, or a lucky charm that’s supposed to help you with your writing? What is it, and why?
On the wall above my desk is a collection of pictures of my family that I consider my lucky charm. My family has always been there for me, motivating and encouraging me along the way. Without them, I would probably not have accomplished any writing goals. I live far away from them now, so having their pictures where I can see them as I write lets me know they are watching over me and whispering, keep going!
- Imagine you wrote your first draft of your book and in the middle, you discover a major plot flaw. What is the first reaction? And how are you going to face the problem and solve it?
My first reaction is to just forget it and start a new story. I find these problems overwhelming initially. After a good cry, I would close the computer and leave it for a few days. Then I would look at the problem with fresh eyes and rework it. There is nothing that can’t be fixed. What doesn’t kill you makes your writing stronger!
- Some writers are phenomenal storytellers, but they have problems with their networking. What would you recommend they should do?
I love networking but realize not everyone does. I would recommend starting a blog first and foremost. It is the best way to connect with other writers and readers. I know not everyone likes social media but I think it is important that writers have some presence. So pick one or two that you feel comfortable with. Without social media these past two years, I´m not sure what writers would have done to network and sell their work. Of course, face-to-face networking is always the best and in non-pandemic times I would suggest attending writers’ conferences, workshops, and book fairs. Connect with local libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, and arrange a reading and book signing. Always carry a book with you or at least a bookmark or postcard describing your book. I sold books to the person sitting beside me on an airplane because I had a book with me!
- What do you think about writer’s contests? Do you participate? If yes, what’s the challenge for you there?
I do submit to writer´s contests but only if there is no cost or a low cost. I have won prizes and have been included in some anthologies because of contests. I like them as they motivate me to come up with new ideas. And working to a deadline is good for a writer. I must say I entered more of these when I was starting out and needed the motivation. It looks good on your writer’s resume and in your cover letter to a publisher if you have won some prizes. It also gives you validation as a writer that others like your work well enough to give you a prize. The stories that didn´t win a prize can be reworked and submitted elsewhere. I now have enough short stories to compile a collection. I look at entering contests as good practice. I would just stay away from those that ask for a high fee.
- There are many warnings when it comes to Book Awards. In many cases, you pay a lot for the submission, but it doesn’t really help the marketing or the sales. What do you think about that?
If you win a book award, it does help sales. But the competition is tough. My publisher has submitted my books to a few reputable Book Awards but nothing has come of it. I have not submitted on my own as the cost seems too high. If I did, I would only consider submitting if it was a reputable award.
- I personally wanted to participate in a ‘Writer’s Conference’ two years ago and lost the money I had paid because the organizer made a major mistake. Do you participate in ‘Writer’s Conferences’? If yes, what’s the excitement for you there? Are there conferences you would recommend?
It´s sad that you were not able to get your money back. I love Writer´s Conferences and have attended many over the years. My favourite is The Surrey International Writer´s Conference in Vancouver BC. Writers from all over the world attend and I have met some amazing people there, including Diana Gabaldon, who writes the Outlander series. A few years back, I had an opportunity to share the first three pages of my first Amanda Travels book to Meg Tilley (author and academy award winning actor) at SIWC. She gave me some suggestions and encouraged me to continue sending out the manuscript. It was just what I needed as I was about to give up on ever being published. The next year I found a publisher willing to publish my books. I have just signed my ninth contract with the same publisher. Every time I attend a conference I leave with new knowledge and great connections. It is a good way to keep abreast of the writing industry as things change all the time. I also attended the Winchester Writer’s Festival in Winchester, England which was great. Once this pandemic is over, I will be attending more conferences.
- What’s the biggest excitement for you, when you introduce a new book to the public? Please, tell us about it.
Like having a baby, I am always so excited to show off a new book. My publisher does such a fabulous job of the covers too. It just never gets old, that feeling of accomplishment. When readers tell me they are so happy to see there is a new book out, that makes my heart sing. Good reviews get me excited as well. After all the work that goes into writing and publishing a book, it is so satisfying to be able to show it off.
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between western Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.
Connect with Darlene:
Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/
Amanda in New Mexico https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels/dp/1771681209/
Amanda on The Danube https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Danube-Sounds-Music-Travels/dp/1771681020/