It’s been an exciting week here at Quanie Talks Writing! On Monday I revealed the cover for my southern paranormal novel, The New Mrs. Collins, yesterday I interviewed author Chrys Fey about her latest release, 30 Seconds, and today I have the absolute pleasure of talking to paranormal author, Rochelle Campbell, about her newest novel, Fury from Hell.
Phew! Excuse me while I catch my breath!
Rochelle was kind of enough to answer some questions about her latest release and writing process so I hope you enjoy! And be sure to hop on over to Goodreads and add Fury from Hell to your TBR list!
What inspired your book?
Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo, was the impetus for Fury From Hell. In the spring of 2012, I knew I wanted to write a book but wanted to do it in an atmosphere where I could reach out for support. NaNoWriMo is just the place for that as they have heavily trafficked forums offering mentors for all genres and personalities.
Secondly, I wanted to break out of the women’s fiction/literary short story writing rut I was in. I decided to write something extremely different from anything I had ever attempted. I immediately knew the new story needed to have a creature in it but I was completely against doing vampires. Then, one day, I saw a plume of misty steam coming from an orange construction cone in the middle of the street. It occurred to me that something could be hidden in that mist and could secretly invade any one of the hundreds of passerby on the busy NYC street. After playing with this idea over the next several months, the beginnings of the story of Fury From Hell emerged in time for the start of NaNoWriMo. I put down a detailed outline the week before NaNo began and on November 1st, 2012 I began to write the story that became Fury From Hell.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I truly cannot answer this question because there are so many answers. ‘Fury’ came from a random walk where I spotted mist in the street. A number of my short stories stemmed from dreams. A couple of book ideas came out of research I conducted for other aspects of my life and I played the What if? game and extrapolated and found a kernel of a story and expanded upon it.
My inspiration to write a particular piece could come from anywhere.
How does your upbringing influence your writing?
Hmmm. What a great question! Off the top, I would say that my upbringing has absolutely nothing to do with my writing. My family did not read much else other than the Bible and Danielle Steele novels (and Laura Goodman’s Zodiac signs!). However, I was encouraged to read, read and read some more. My aunt was a librarian which provided me access to millions of books. I read so many books I’ve forgotten a lot of what I read!
However, a reading legacy was my childhood and an essential part of my upbringing. Sneaking and reading books that would cause a ruckus in the household became a fun pastime. Hence, books about witchcraft, demons, fantasies, goblins and that whole realm of otherwordly beings opened up a new vista of teenage rebellion. Clearly, this became the foundation for my passion for the paranormal genre.
Do you write in other genres?
Yes, my other book, Leaping Out on Faith, is a book of four short stories that each depict a woman in a challenging life situation. Each woman must decide what her next action will be knowing that the rest of her life will be irrevocably changed.
How have you dealt with criticism and rejection?
Another great question. I am one of those that has kept every single rejection letter I ever received. I have ‘good’ rejections and ‘bad’ rejections. However, we all know that a rejection is a rejection is an “I’ll pass”! LOL.
By saving all of these letters, I have accumulated over the years a mini database of what editors, literary agents and literary journals are seeking in that time period. It gives me a clear indication of how I can improve my work and better my chances next time I submit. Using feedback from a literary agent and an editor at a major publishing firm, I was able to adjust my work and develop it into a viable story. From their comments, I knew the story was entertaining but there were technical things that had to be addressed in the manuscript. I took a literary writing course to assist me in addressing those technical writing issues. To answer your question, I use criticism and rejection to propel me to the next level in whatever I am doing.
What’s the best and worst piece of writing advice that you’ve ever gotten?
Best Piece of Advice: You must learn the importance of and how to plot out your stories. I have found that I am a plotter. I must have a sequence of events present in my work, or whatever book I am reading must have one, or else I get crazy. This is partly why I never believed I would like, or even be able to write literary fiction. The best fiction is well-written prose that has a tight plot and engaging tangential sub-plots that keep the story humming along.
Worst Piece of Advice: Write what you know. What does that even mean?? It’s so trite and overused that it is devoid of meaning. The only thing I can say is good about this piece of advice is to see if there is something that you do know well and see if you do want to write about it. There are a ton of things that I know about that I would not necessarily want to write about. I know how to clean a kitchen stove. No one wants to read about that. I know how to knit baby clothes, mitten and a cable-knit sweater. I didn’t happen to notice any knitting books on the New York’s Times Best Sellers list…
You get my point. If you’re going to write what you know then write with an eye to what would be of interest to others, what you may know that someone else may not. Or, if what you know has a special twist to it that could add value to someone else’s life than write about that. Write what you know is way to broad. The other point is, sometimes you don’t want to write what you know about/experienced. You want to write about something you don’t know about and come at it from a newbie’s perspective which also has value. Okay, I’ll stop ranting now…
What are you working on next?
After working on ‘Fury’ for a little over two years, I am taking a bit of a sabbatical to regroup and recharge. I will be reading stories on my to-be-read shelf including Tom Perrot’s The Leftovers. I will finally be able to finish Deborah Harness’ The Book of Life. Then, I’ll turn my attentions to a few WIPs I have been tinkering with for the past few years and choose one of them.
As a reader, what are some of your book pet peeves?
Don’t bore me. While that is highly subjective if the story does not grab me by chapter 3, I will put it down. Rarely do I pick it up again. I prefer books to have creatures, angels, demons, and the like in them. Or, if I shift genres, I want to learn something that I can potentially use in my life to improve my quality of living and being. I can get this from fiction, or nonfiction. For that matter, I can get this from a cookbook! LOL.
How do you balance writing and marketing yourself?
Initially, in the first 3-4 weeks of your book’s launch there is no balance. You must push and push to gain awareness and interest in your book. This holds especially true if you are an independent (indie) author. You live, or die, by your marketing efforts and your social media influence. Once the first month or so has passed and you’ve generated buzz for your book, you can pull back a bit but not much. Why? Because now it’s time to begin another book!
What’s some advice that you’d give to aspiring writers?
Keep your day job! LOL. Seriously, if you want to write ‘professionally’ you need to not pressure yourself into deadlines, grids, formatting, outlining, elaborate schema, fancy writing programs that will do all of your plotting and story structuring for you (Sure! And, I have a bridge to sell to you.) Don’t get me wrong, there are many programs out there that are phenomenal in helping you to organize your thoughts and story scenes. However, you are the writer and you should never relinquish the control of your creativity to a program, or a machine (shades of Asimov’s I, Robot…).
Work from your heart. Allow what’s inside of you – no matter what it is – to have the space and freedom to tumble out of your creative mind and onto your page, or screen. Give yourself room to expand the idea without questioning your sanity. And most importantly, grow and develop your fledging idea until it is a fully fleshed out ideal. Then, it will be time to workshop your work-in-progress (WIP). Some great places to workshop you work are:
Zoetrope – http://www.zoetrope.com/
Writer’s Carnival – http://www.writerscarnival.ca/
What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you?
That I have not cut my hair in 8 years.
Well, that was fun! A big shout-out to Rochelle for stopping by. And don’t forget to check out the cover, blurb, and buy links for Fury From Hell, along with Rochelle’s bio and social media links, below.
Fury From Hell is a paranormal thriller about good vs. evil. Here, the good is in the form of Detective Jennifer Holden, a homicide cop that is haunted by her own personal demons of a murder she committed when she was just a teenager. The trauma she suffered at the hands of social agency after agency hardened Jennifer into a staunch atheist making her gun and her bank account the only things she truly believes in.
We meet Detective Holden, shortly before she begins working on her first solo murder case. The victim is Kyma Barnes who was brutally raped and killed. As Kyma’s soul leaves her body, a demon being called by a coven of dark witches at nearby Prospect Park, is drawn to the dying woman by her death throes. Fury Abatu offers to avenge Kyma’s death. The price? The dying woman’s soul. Kyma gives it gladly to ensure the man who killed her pays dearly.
Buy Fury From Hell on Amazon
Connect with Rochelle online!
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Rochelle-Campbell/e/B007RHZNQ0
“Hmm, I wonder what form the demon in Book 2 will take…”
Rochelle Campbell has been writing on and off for over 20 years. To date, the off-writing portion seems to have provided fodder for the writing phase of her career as she currently has, five novel-length works in progress. Early in her career, she did legwork for The New York Times and freelanced for a number of local and regional newspapers and magazines. However, her calling – fiction writing – became apparent after a two-year writer’s mentoring course in the early 2000’s. From that course, several short stories emerged that readers and fellow writers urged Rochelle to develop them into longer works.
After a quiescent decade, story ideas abounded and are being developed and scheduled for bringing into full written form.
Along the way, two short stories have been published by literary journals. They are Chambray Curtains Blowing in the Wind [http://www.bartlebysnopes.com/chambraycurtains.htm] and How Charlie Ray Saved My Life [http://litartmag.com/issue2/story2.php].