Audiobook Narrator Interview – Emma Thorpe

*Name: Emma Thorpe

*Tell us a bit about yourself:

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production?  I was listening to an audiobook one day on my commute to work and I found myself wondering how you became an audiobook narrator, so I decided to search on the internet and find out for myself. I have always enjoyed reading (I read a lot to my two children) and I’ve been involved in amateur dramatics from a very young age (I was 8 when I first went on stage). Audiobook narration seemed to be a perfect way to combine my love of reading and performing. I took a free course with Krystal Wascher to learn about the process and just went for it. Within 5 minutes of submitting my first audition, I had an offer.

Is this your day job? I also run my own handmade jewellery business (Atlantic Rose), designing and making sterling silver jewellery.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? I’m still very new to the audiobook world (I only started back in March 2019), but I now have produced 10 titles. I have enjoyed narrating each one of them so it’s hard to pick a favourite, as I have a few. I loved narrating Ann Carroll’s adaptation of “The Children of Lir” as this is a story I would listen to my grandfather tell when I was little and coming from Northern Ireland, it is a story that is very close to my heart. I recently finished narrating a childrens’ trilogy- “Magical Chapters Trilogy” by Victoria Zigler, which I really loved. The characters were such a joy to read (Daisy the Dragon being my favourite) and Victoria was kind enough to allow me to determine the accents for each of the characters.

Do you have a preferred genre? I love narrating children’s books

Do you have a genre you do not produce? I tend to narrate books that I myself would be interested in reading

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I recently just finished narrating my first novel for adults – “December Girl” by Nicola Cassidy.

Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) I always start by reading the book cover to cover. If it’s a book with multiple characters, I’ll make notes on each, to help me ‘find their voice’. If no directive has been given by the author regarding a character’s accent, I’ll use this process to determine what their accent may be. Depending on how the book is written, I’ll either record the book, in sequence, chapter by chapter, or, as in the case of “December Girl” were each chapter focused on a different character, I’ll record all the chapters featuring one character first, then all the chapters featuring another character next and so on, until the book is recorded. I find narrating this way really helps me maintain a character’s ‘voice’.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable? Interpreting the characters and bringing them to life is my favourite part of narrating.

What do you find least enjoyable? Submitting the finished files. But only because it makes me feel as though I’m back at school and waiting for exam results 🙂

Have you ever found an author you couldn’t continue to work with? This hasn’t happened to me yet.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? I tend to look at the book and decide if it’s something I want to narrate, irrespective of whether its Royalty Share or not.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Yes I do. I usually listen to them when I’m in my workshop working on a piece, or if I’m travelling on my own.

With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I think that audiobooks will play a big part in how people enjoy books and storytelling, especially adults, who don’t tend to have books read to them by others.

Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? I think that in a world where everything is becoming faster and faster, where many people have very little time to just sit down, relax and read, audiobooks are a wonderful way to keep enjoying books. As I mentioned earlier, I often listen to audiobooks while I work.

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? Stephen Fry’s “Mythos”

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) So far, yes it has. I love that I’m not obliged to produce X number of books in X number of months, so it’s really up to me how much work I take on.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book?  Not so far

What is the best piece of advice you’ve had? She who risks nothing, has nothing. I’m planning on making that the family motto 😀

If you could narrate any book you wanted which would it be and why? I would love to narrate any of Enid Blyton’s “The Faraway Tree” books. I loved reading these books as a child and I loved reading them to my own children and bringing the characters to life or them.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I talk to myself…. a lot. Even when there are other people in the room with me.

Check out Emma’s narration of Victoria Zigler’s books on the links below:

 

Witchlet Audiobook Cover.jpg

Book 1 – Witchlet
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Witchlet-Audiobook/B07SW9RGYY
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/167766
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/witchlet-victoria-zigler/1111650082
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/witchlet
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/witchlet/id540402721
iTunes: https://books.apple.com/gb/audiobook/witchlet-magical-chapters-trilogy-book-1-unabridged/id1468691085
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Witchlet-1-Magical-Chapters-Trilogy/dp/1512358533/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Witchlet-1-Magical-Chapters-Trilogy/dp/1512358533/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Witchlet-1-Magical-Chapters-Trilogy/dp/1512358533/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Witchlet-Victoria-Zigler/9781512358537

The Pineapple Loving Dragon Audiobook Cover.jpg

Book 2 – The Pineapple Loving Dragon
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/The-Pineapple-Loving-Dragon-Audiobook/B07T14QJW3
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260695
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-pineapple-loving-dragon-victoria-zigler/1114043058
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-pineapple-loving-dragon
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-pineapple-loving-dragon/id585949046
iTunes: https://books.apple.com/gb/audiobook/pineapple-loving-dragon-magical-chapters-trilogy-volume/id1468684612
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pineapple-Loving-Dragon-Magical-Chapters/dp/1512358622/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Pineapple-Loving-Dragon-Magical-Chapters/dp/1512358622/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Pineapple-Loving-Dragon-Magical-Chapters/dp/1512358622/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Pineapple-Loving-Dragon-Victoria-Zigler/9781512358629
A Magical Storm Audiobook Cover.jpg
Book 3 – A Magical Storm
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/A-Magical-Storm-Audiobook/B07SZ3FVQH
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303746
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-magical-storm-victoria-zigler/1115113126
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-magical-storm
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-magical-storm/id634577504
iTunes: https://books.apple.com/gb/audiobook/magical-storm-magical-chapters-trilogy-volume-3-unabridged/id1468692149
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magical-Storm-Chapters-Trilogy-x/dp/1512358681/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Magical-Storm-Chapters-Trilogy-x/dp/1512358681/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Magical-Storm-Chapters-Trilogy-x/dp/1512358681/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Magical-Storm-Victoria-Zigler/9781512358681

You can also find the books on Goodreads.

Book 1: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14743914-witchlet
Book 2: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16192834-the-pineapple-loving-dragon
Book 3: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17736387-a-magical-storm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battlefield 1066 -Spotlights – Victoria Zigler

#SWauthors #History #Childrensauthor

Name: Victoria Zigler, or Tori for short.

Tell us a bit about yourself I’m a blind vegetarian poet and children’s author.  Born and raised near the foot of the Black Mountains of South-West Wales, UK, I now live very close to the town of Hastings on the South-East coast of England, UK.  I share my home with my Canadian husband, and our gang of rodents (which currently consists of 3 degus, 1 gerbil, 2 rats, and 2 chinchillas) and spend most of my time either reading or writing.

Set during the Battle of Hastings tell us a little more about your story

My Battle of Hastings story is about a young boy named Eadweard who, along with his best friend, Cerdic, thought it would be fun to join the ranks of men marching to fight in the battle, even though they officially aren’t old enough and had been forbidden to do so by their Fathers.  They have dreams of being great war heroes, but soon discover the reality of war is nothing like what they imagined it to be.

It’s a children’s historical fiction story, but I’ve put an “eight years and older” warning on the book’s blurb, because some of the scenes in the story really aren’t suitable for readers younger than that, in my opinion.  After all, it is a story about a battle, and I can’t show the reality of war without showing some violence and blood.

What prompted you to write this one?

I wanted to branch out and try other genres, and this year being the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings inspired me to write a story about the battle.  I quickly decided that I wanted to tell the story of the events of the battle reasonably accurately – as much as can be done without a time machine, which I don’t have access to, unfortunately.  But I also wanted the story to be from the point of view of someone who wasn’t some famous war hero.  Part of my preference for someone who wasn’t a great war hero was because I wanted the person to be a child, and part of it was because I wanted fighting to be new to him.  I wanted to tell the story of the battle, while at the same time showing that war isn’t the amazing adventure some people think it to be.  I also wanted the book to be suitable for middle grade readers, which is why it needed to be a young lad who was the main character.  After looking up everything I could find on the battle, and letting those thoughts simmer in my mind for a couple of months, I sat down to write the story, and “Eadweard – A Story Of 1066” is the result.  To my knowledge, Eadweard and Cerdic themselves never existed.  However, boys like them would have, and the battle itself was very real.

How much research was involved? I already knew some of the details of the battle, partially from doing an essay on it during the time I was homeschooled in my teens, and partially because I live not far from Hastings, and it’s almost impossible to live close to Hastings and not know one or two facts (especially when you have an interest in history, as well as random facts, so pay attention to those kinds of things).  However, I still made sure to spend plenty of time researching my facts as accurately as possible.  I also happen to be very close to someone who is a huge history buff, a fellow writer, and essentially a walking encyclopaedia, so I asked him if he’d be a beta reader for me.  Thankfully, he agreed, so was able to help me out with anything I wasn’t sure about.

What was the most fascinating thing you learned from this experience?

I’m really not sure how to answer this one.  I found the whole thing fascinating; I like history.

Who do you think is one of the most important historical figures in British history?

I think the most important person in history is whoever figured out how to create and manipulate fire, because fire is the most useful thing in the world.  It doesn’t matter if you benefit from the things fire does for us directly by sitting in front of a roaring blaze, or indirectly by benefiting from the power that’s caused by a chain reaction started by burning some kind of fuel, if you’re a human being, chances are you’ll be benefiting from fire in your daily life… Especially in extremely cold weather.  Although, not quite as much as you might have had Thomas Edison not figured out about electricity.

Who do you believe to be the rightful claimant – William or Harold Godwinson? Why?

I think Harold is the rightful claimant.  I know William believes Harold promised him the throne, but it’s William’s word against Harold’s on that one.  Besides, even if he did, Harold was given the crown by people who held enough authority that their choice to do so was accepted.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s that; once he’s king, he’s king.  If everyone thought that way though, the battle wouldn’t have happened, and neither would many others throughout history.

What other books have you written?

How long have you got? Haha! No, I really mean it! OK, I’ll summarize: to date, I’ve published seven poetry collections and 42 stories of various lengths (including “Eadweard – A Story Of 1066” and the story that was published in the “Wyrd Worlds II” anthology).  My “Kero’s World” and “Degu Days Duo” books are semi-fictionalized stories based on the lives of my actual pets, my “Magical Chapters Trilogy” and “Zeena Dragon Fae” books are fantasy stories, my “Toby’s Tales” books are based on my own adjustments after losing my sight, “My Friends Of Fur And Feather” and “Rodent Rhymes And Pussycat Poems” are pet themed poetry collections written for and about real pets I’ve owned or known, the rest of my poetry books are random collections of poetry, all my stand alone stories are aimed at children of middle grade reading level or younger and cover a few different genres (though they’re mainly fantasy stories, fairy tales, animal stories, or some combination of the three) and my story in “Wyrd Worlds II” is a fantasy story.  I have plans for plenty more in the near future.

 

Character Questions

Who are you? Tell us about yourself.

My name is Eadweard, and I’m nine years old, though I’m tall for my age, so look a little older.  My Father isn’t a rich lord, but we have enough money to live comfortably, and for my Father to have two sets of armour.  His new armour is much nicer than the old stuff, but the old armour is still  in good enough condition that he kept it for me; he says I’ll grow in to it properly one day.

What faith do you hold? Are you devout?

I’m no priest, nor do I plan to become one.  I believe in God though, of course, and say my prayers.

What is your moral code?

My Father always taught me that a warrior should be prepared to die to defend their leader and loved ones.

Would you die for your beliefs?

I don’t actually want to die.  I know I should be prepared to do so, but that doesn’t mean I want it to happen.  If I’m going to die though, I want it to be in a way that will bring honour to my family, and make my Father proud of me.

Would you kill for them?

I would try to.  Though that’s not as easy to do as it looks.  It turns out fighting with practice swords is a lot easier than fighting in a real battle.

How did you become embroiled in this battle for the crown?

Well… *Looks guilty* I wasn’t supposed to be involved.  My Father said I wasn’t ready for battle, and ordered me to stay home.  My best friend, Cerdic, was told the same by his Father.  We disobeyed though, and found a way to join the ranks of marching men.  You won’t tell our Fathers, will you?

Honestly – who do you think is the rightful claimant?

King Harold is the rightful claimant, of course.  The Witon said he should be King, and they wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true, would they?

Were you afraid during the battles?

I tried to pretend I wasn’t, so the others wouldn’t think me a coward, but I was afraid throughout most of the battle.  I’m pretty sure Cerdic was too.  Part of my fear was fear of what my Father would do if he found out I’d disobeyed him and found a way to join the battle after all, and part of it was the actual battle itself.

Have you a family?

I’m my parents’ eldest child.  I have three younger siblings.  My eldest sister is only a year younger than me, and often helps our Mother to keep an eye on our younger brother and sister, who are hardly more than babies.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to have already shown my skill in battle, and gained enough notice as a great warrior that my heroic deeds are rewarded.  That would make my Father proud.  Then he won’t be quite so angry that I disobeyed him when he said I wasn’t ready to join a real battle.

Links/cover etc.

Author links:

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk

 

Buy links for “Eadweard – A Story Of 1066”

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/652726

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eadweard-victoria-zigler/1124182601

Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/eadweard-a-story-of-1066/id1137551399

Also available from other sites Smashwords distributes to… Paperback coming soon!

eadweard-a-story-of-1066-cover-1-1600x2400

Returning Author – Tori Zigler

I’d like to welcome back author Victoria Zigler, or Tori, if you prefer.

Please recap briefly about your books:

Most of my books are fantasy stories, fairy tales, animal stories, or some combination of those, but I’ve also written books in other genres too.  Regardless of genre though, my stories are aimed at children.  I happen to know that some adults have really enjoyed them too, however, and I’m not just talking about adults who are family members or friends either.

Not all my books are children’s stories.  I also write poetry, which is generally suitable for any age level, and has also been enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Plus, I have a fantasy story published in the “Wyrd Worlds II” anthology.

What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news!

The last time I was interviewed on here, I was about to release the final book in my “Kero’s World” series, and had ”Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie” due for release the following month.  Since those titles came out, I’ve published another 14 titles.  Two are poetry books, four are the books for my “Zeena Dragon Fae” series, and the others are more stand alone stories.  My most recent releases are a poetry collection called “The Ocean’s Lullaby And Other Poems” which was released in early July, and my first ever science fiction story “Jeffrey The Orange Alien” which was released in late August.

Also, at the time my last interview went live, I was only doing my books as eBooks, but now I have them all available as paperbacks too.  The eBooks are still published via Smashwords, and distributed to all eBook retailers Smashwords distributes to (such as Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, etc) so are available in multiple formats to work across a variety of eReaders and other devices.  The paperbacks are published via CreateSpace, and distributed to all the retailers CreateSpace distributes to (such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc).

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be?

Yes, I do.  For some reason, people got it in to their heads that self-published translated in to “not good enough to be published” – despite the fact that there are many reasons why a traditional publisher might not want to publish something, and most of those reasons have nothing to do with the quality of the work in question.  Unfortunately, the fact that some self-published authors put their work out in to the world before it’s really ready (in other words, before it’s been properly edited, proof read, etc) has led to some poor quality work being on the market, which has only served to encourage this view.  Opinions are starting to be swayed by some self-published authors who have managed to make it big, and show the world that a self-published book can be as good as a traditionally published one for quality, but I think it’s going to be a while before everyone is willing to accept this new viewpoint – if they ever do.

Do you read work by self-published authors?

Yes, I do.  I also accept books from them in exchange for posting a review.  Personally, I don’t care how an author has published their work.  If it sounds like a book I’ll enjoy, I’ll read it whether it’s self-published or traditionally published.  I use the same criteria for deciding if I want to read a book regardless of the publication method, and don’t give the method of publication a single thought when rating or reviewing a book.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?

Reviews are very important.  They’re useful for authors sometimes, because some contain helpful information on what an author could have done to improve the story, which can potentially help to improve the author’s next piece of writing.  However, reviews are mostly important for other potential readers, since they tell those readers that someone has read the book, and give some insight in to what they thought about it.

Authors can “like” a review, or thank a reviewer for a good review, if they really insist on interacting with reviews.  But that’s it.  An author should NEVER comment on negative reviews, especially not to disagree with the reviewer.  By all means read them, and privately take note of any constructive criticism contained in them, but don’t comment.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors?

I don’t see anything wrong with author’s reviewing work by other authors.  I’m an author, but I was a reader first, and the same is true for all authors, which means there’s no reason an author can’t assume the role of an average reader while enjoying the work of another author.  Plus, it’s a bit silly to exclude someone from being allowed to review a book just because they’ve written one of their own.  As long as an author leaves an honest review, and isn’t leaving a good review on the work of another author just in hopes of getting one in return, or leaving a bad review because they got a bad review from that author, there’s no problem.  I mean, there’s nothing wrong with author’s doing review swaps, as long as they’re done with the understanding that the review should be an honest one based on your opinion of the book in question, rather than one based on how good or bad the review the other author gave you was, if you know what I mean.

I quite often review books, and rate those I don’t review.  Whether I’ve just picked up a book randomly, or have been given a copy by the author or publisher (or both, in the case of most self-published books) in exchange for a review, I always try to be honest in my reviews and ratings, whether the author has reviewed my book(s) or not, and regardless of how good or bad any review the author left for me was.

Looking back what do you wish you’d known when you started writing?

Since I started writing as soon as I learned how to, I don’t think there’s anything.  Honestly, I don’t remember much from the time before I started writing for pleasure, since I learned to read and write early, and was quick to learn the pleasure of writing.  Plus, I think you learn more about writing by actually doing it, and never stop learning.

Although, if you mean before I started writing professionally – in other words, before I started publishing my books back in 2012 – the answer is different.  The thing I wish I’d known then was that an already established online presence would help my writing career, rather than hinder it.  I’m not really sure why I got it in to my head that continuing to blog would take too much time away from my writing.  After all, I’d been blogging regularly – usually at least once a day – for about six years when I published my first book, and had been doing plenty of writing in that time, even if I wasn’t mentioning most of it on my blog.  But I became convinced for some reason that if I wanted to make a career out of writing, I should stop blogging publicly.  I still kept my blog, and posted a few things on it with it set to “private” just for my own benefit, but I stopped allowing others to see my posts, and stopped visiting the blogs of my friends.  Huge mistake! Not only did it cost me several really good friends – friends who I miss, because they were a great group of people – but it also meant I lost several potential opportunities for sales, as well as potential people who might have helped me to spread the word about my books.  I only had my blog private for about a year, but that year was enough time for me to lose touch with most of the people who had been regular readers and commenters on my blog, most of whom still don’t appear to realize I’m blogging again, even though I’ve been doing so for around three years, and am doing so on my original blog, which I’ve now made public again.  I’m trying to reconnect with as many of the people as I can.  Not just for the potential networking opportunities, but also because I miss them.  Unfortunately, success on this front has been limited.  In short, the choice to stop blogging publicly was a bad one, which I regret, both from a personal and professional point of view, and if I’d known then what I know now, I never would have even considered stepping away from the blogging world.

Do you have any unpublished novels under the bed/in a folder anywhere which you thought were awesome at the time, but now will never see the light of day?

Nope.  I mean, I did have some stories that were… Well, let’s just say they needed a lot of work.  I also had several poems that needed a little work.  But I hated to see them go to waste, so I took the time to rewrite them, and later edited and published them.  All I have unpublished now – that I have copies of, anyway – are poems I’ve written since my last poetry collection was published (which will go in my next one) and the stories I’m in the process of writing.  There were probably others that I didn’t get to re-write, but no copies of them exist anymore, since they’ve been lost in moves and computer crashes, and I don’t think it counts if the only record of them is a vague memory I have of having written other stories and poems.

How have you progressed as a writer since you started?

Since, as I said when answering a previous question, I was really young when I started writing, I would hope I’ve progressed a lot.  I know my grammar skills have improved, I’ve learned more about sentence structure, I’ve learned about different poetry styles and tried a couple of them out, etc… All the stuff you learn as you progress with education.  Beyond that, I’ve learned not to assume that because I know something my reader will.  In my early stories, I often assumed I didn’t need to describe things because I knew what they were, but I now know descriptions are important, and not everyone will recognize even some everyday items I take for granted, since different places have different names for some of them, and others aren’t actually available in other countries.  Luckily, I learned about this before starting to publish, so have done my best to take this in to consideration in my re-writes, as well as in my newer stories.

What aspect of writing do you least enjoy? Why might this be?

When it comes to the actual writing process, there’s nothing I don’t enjoy.  I enjoy research too, since I enjoy learning about different things, and if it wasn’t a topic I was interested in I wouldn’t be writing about it, which would mean I wouldn’t be researching it.  The only part about being an author I don’t enjoy very much is the marketing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love connecting with my readers on social media and such, but I hate the part where I have to spend ages doing the posts that are essentially just different ways of saying “please buy my book.”  Unfortunately, since I want to be able to share my stories with the world, I have to do that part as well as the writing and research.  I try to focus more on finding interesting things to share and post about, as well as interacting with others in places where I might get sales, rather than actually posting “please buy my book” type messages, which makes the marketing stuff a bit more fun.  It’s probably more fun for potential readers that way too.  At least, I hope it is.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?

The last book I finished reading was a children’s story by a fellow self-published author.  The book’s title was “Oh Grandad!” and the author’s name was Stephanie Dagg.  It was, as I said in the short review I put up for it on Smashwords, an amusing and fun read.  Actually, all the stories I’ve read by Stephanie Dagg have been entertaining and enjoyable reads.

Do you have a favourite movie?

“Practical Magic” and “The Craft” are my favourite movies.  However, I’ve been a bit obsessed with the movie “Frozen” since I first saw it towards the end of last year, so I might have to add that one as a third favourite from now on.

What are your plans for the future? When will we see your next book?  Tell us about it.

I’ve got my first ever historical fiction story due out in October, which is a story based on the Battle Of Hastings.  I’ve already written several new poems towards my next poetry collection, so I’ll hopefully have a new poetry collection out next year too.  I’m also working on a couple of other stories, one of which is a Christmas story involving a giant, the others I can’t tell you more about just yet, because I don’t know much myself; I’m a pantser, and I’ve not long started working on them, so right now I don’t know exactly where they’re going, nor even exactly which genre they’ll all be in as it stands at the moment.  Like I said, I rarely know much at this stage myself.  One time, for example, I had a story I thought was going to be a mystery, only for it to turn out to be a fantasy.  Anyway, I’m not yet certain what the future holds beyond that.

If you had to pick five books to have on an island which five would you pick?

I’d rather not be limited on my choice of books, but if I had to pick, I’d want “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgeson Burnett, “Matilda” by Roald Dahl, “Strings” by David Estes, “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and something that will be useful for telling me how to survive while waiting to be rescued.  Either those five books, or just that last one, plus my Kindle and some kind of solar powered charger, that way I could have the time to read all the books waiting on it for me to read them.

How do you think fantasy is portrayed in the media?

Though it’s not always the case, for the most part, from what I’ve read and watched, fantasy is generally portrayed as being a mostly male dominated genre, with vicious dragons and weak women making regular appearances, while mighty men rush in to save the day.  I want to see more vegetarian dragons and strong female characters, maybe with some men needing to be the ones rescued for a change.  Not just in children’s books and movies, but in general.

 

Links etc.

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk

Author Interview 106 Segilola Salami – Children’s Author/Fairy Tales

 

I don’t often promote books for kids at the library, but this author’s work intrigued me. The books are bilingual – English and Yoruba, that’s a West African Language spoken by nearly 65 million people.  Anyway if you’d like to learn a little more here is some information about the language and people.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoruba_language

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoruba_people

Over to you Segilola…

Welcome to Segilola Salami

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m a Londoner living in London

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.

I write bilingual children’s books. My titles so far are:

  • Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba Girl in London
  • Learn to Count in Yoruba and English
  • Yetunde: An Ode to My Mother

Where do you find inspiration? My daughter

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I tend to have an idea of the folktales I want to include in my book, so I do a bit of online and offline research, speaking to friends to see what versions they remember. This way I try to get the version I tell as close to accurate as I can. I also add my own twists to it. I do enjoy this because it allows me to relive my childhood.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? I think with my stories, there are some moral guides. This is important, as I hope it teaches children that every action we take has a reaction

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? All my books are available as ebooks. Only Yetunde: An Ode to My Mother is available as a paperbook. I definitely would consider expanding the formats the books are available in in the future

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do both. When I write my first draft, I take a good few days away from it. I give the manuscript to beta readers to provide feedback. When I go back to the draft manuscript, I sometimes find that with the way I wrote a paragraph, my intentions were not clearly put across, so I have to re-write it. I also apply any appropriate feedback I get from my beta readers. Then I pass the manuscript to the professional editor. When I get the manuscript back, I re-read the editors versions. I find that because I translate some Yoruba words, if the editor changes some key words, the meaning would be lost. So it is important that I then re-edit the editors version.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? As a reader, I don’t think so.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes I do

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? As a reader, I never bothered reading reviews. The only time I give a review is when Amazon sends me an email asking for a review. As a reader reviews are not that important to me (as I may not have the same views as the previous reviewer) for works of fiction. I like to judge for myself. If I find a book is badly written, I won’t give the author a second go. If I enjoyed the first book, I would seek out other books by the same author. For non-fiction, I definitely check out reviews to see what people think of the content.

As an author, reviews are super important to help me improve and be better at my writing and that’s why I have a network of beta readers and other authors who I call on to get their feedback. In marketing my books, I have been told that it is important to have reviews as there are some people who only check out books that have reviews.

I think authors should not comment on any published reviews s/he gets. If the author knows the person, then they can talk about the review privately.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? Only for non-fiction

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Yetunde: An Ode to My Mother

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/603700

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1R7OVF3

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1S7GM66

Book page: http://www.segilolasalami.co.uk/yetunde-an-ode-to-my-mother/

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/yetunde-an-ode-to-my-mother

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/en/book/yetunde-an-ode-to-my-mother/id1072179529?mt=11

GRs https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28388212-yetunde

 

Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba Girl in London

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1S0AkQ6

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1KJuXDk

Book trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCMv4wU5sHI

 

Author website: http://www.segilolasalami.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Yetunde3DAnimation/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iyayetunde1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/segilolasalami

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7OL37UtAJ-ULNnDGB0SiTg/videos

Google + https://plus.google.com/u/0/+IyaYetunde

Subscribe to Podcast http://www.segilolasalami.co.uk/subscribe-to-podcast/

iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-segilola-salami-show/id1091366789?mt=2&ls=1

Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=85447&refid=stpr

Returning Author Victoria Zigler – Announcement

The Great Degu Round-Up: https://www.createspace.com/5493760

A Very Degu Christmas: https://www.createspace.com/5493860

My name is Victoria Zigler, and I’m a blind author of children’s
fiction and poetry.

In April 2012, I began publishing my books as eBooks via Smashwords,
who then distribute them to multiple eBook retailers, including – but
not limited to – Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Since then, I’ve received several requests to make my books available
in paperback format.

I’m pleased to announce that I am finally able to grant these requests!

The first two of my books are now available to buy in paperback from
CreateSpace and Amazon, with the rest of my backlist of books
following as soon as it can be arranged.

The paperback versions will also be made available to request from
other retailers and bookstores, as well as from your local library,
though this will take a little longer to arrange.

“The Great Degu Round-Up” and “A Very Degu Christmas” are the titles
already available to buy in paperback.

~*~
Victoria “Tori” Zigler
(Children’s author and poet)

*~*~*
Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tori.zigler
Facebook author page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler
Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.com

Author Interview Sixty-Five – Victoria Zigler – Fantasy/Children/Animal Stories

Welcome to Victorria Zigler, or Tori, if you prefer.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I live in the UK.  I was born and raised in a valley near the Black Mountains in South Wales, but now live in a town by the sea in the South-East of England.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write some poetry, but mostly I write children’s stories, which are either fictional or semi-fictional.

My “Toby’s Tales” series, for example, is a semi-fictionalized series based on my own struggles to adapt after sight loss.  And my “Kero’s World” series is a semi-fictionalized series about the life of my dog, who we lost in August of this year.  But my “Magical Chapters” trilogy is entirely fictional.

As for actual genres… Mostly I write animal stories or fantasy/fairy tales.  But I do have a few stories planned in other genres (still aimed at children though).  For example, I have a story called “Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie” due out in October, which is about a little girl’s encounter with a vegetarian turned zombie while waiting in hiding for her parents’ return during a zombie apocalypse.

I won’t list all the titles here, because I’ve published more than 30 books; five of them are short poetry collections, the rest are children’s stories.  If you want a full list of titles, you can find them all listed on my website, Goodreads profile, etc.

Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration pretty much everywhere: in conversations I hear while out and about, in my own random musings about whatever pops in to my head, in things people say to me, in things I hear on the radio or see on TV, in questioning how something I read would have gone if some crucial plot point had been different, and in dreams.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? I have two favourite characters: Kero from my “Kero’s World” series, and Daisy from my “Magical Chapters” trilogy.  Kero because he was my beloved dog; my most loyal friend for a little over 10 years.  Daisy because she’s the sweetest and kindest dragon you could ever meet, and I’d love to have a dragon friend like her.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? Hmmm… This one is more difficult, since I like most of my characters.  If I had to pick one though, I think I’d probably have to go with Rith from “Snowball The Oddball Kobold”.  Rith is a kobold brawler who delights in making Snowball’s life miserable just because Snowball happens to be a different colour to the rest of the tribe, and I hate bullies like him.

Are your characters based on real people? I think there’s always something of the people or animals we know in our characters, as well as ourselves; whether we want there to be or not.  But some of the characters I have are actually based on real people intentionally: Toby from my “Toby’s Tales” series is based on a combination of myself and my brother, Carl (who is also blind).  And Toby’s little sister is based on a little girl who’s almost like family.  Jacob, Jasper, Jenks and Joshua from my “Degu Days” series are based on my own degus, and Kero from the “Kero’s World” series is based on my own dog.  Also, Cubby the polar bear from “Cubby And The Beanstalk” is based on the same dog, who I often called “my little polar bear cub” or “Cubby” when he was alive.  Plus, there’s a Westie in the book I’m writing at the moment – he’s the main character, actually – who is also based on the same dog.  But where the “Kero’s World” books are semi-fictionalized accounts of Kero’s real life experiences as I think they might have been seen through his eyes, this new book – which is called “Yua And The Great Wizard Hunt” if you’re interested – is complete fiction, but just happens to have a dog based on my own Westie as a main character.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Not yet.  It does sound like a tempting idea though… *Grins evily*

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I don’t need to do that much research, but I do some anyway.

So far most of my research has been on the known facts of animals and fantasy creatures, as well as the medicinal properties of plants and herbs.  Since I love animals – real or fantasy – and have an interest in the medicinal properties of plants and herbs, this means that the research has been just as much fun for me as the writing.  Some of the facts I already knew and just needed to verify, others were new facts I discovered while verifying things, which I enjoyed learning.  Mostly I’m just checking up on things I want to be sure I’m getting right, or checking on things I plan to do differently to make sure I’m aware of what I’m changing.  After all, if you’re going to break a rule, you need to know what the rule is, right?

As for my sources… Various websites, online encyclopedias, and the rulebooks of the Pathfinder roleplaying system have been my main sources so far.  If it was from Pathfinder I’ll check the rulebook, or the information I’ve gathered on the different races and classes for the system, otherwise I generally just type in a web search for what I want to know, find what I need, and make notes in documents (which are on my computer and backed up on a memory stick) so I can find them easier next time I need the information.

I actually have a folder called “research” which is full of such information (about creatures I’ve already written about, about creatures I plan to write about, and about creatures I found while looking for others and thought looked cool so grabbed the information in case I want to write about them later).

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Many of my stories have a message in them, but I don’t feel it’s essential to have one.  I’ve been working a lot with the theme of accepting differences and disabilities, though not exclusively, so acceptance is a common theme in many of my books: from Frank the ogre finding a place where he can belong without having to pretend to be something he’s not, to Snowball the kobold proving everyone has a role to play in society; regardless of the colour of their skin (or scales).

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? My books are currently only available as ebooks.  They’re available from many ebook retailers, but not Amazon (before anyone asks).

I have considered making them available in print, but lack of skill, and lack of funds to pay someone to sort it for me, means I’ve abandoned the idea of doing the books in print for the time being.  I did also consider audio, but lack of funds prevents me from being able to pay someone to read them for me, and there’s no way I’d do the reading myself as I hate my voice on recordings.  I know there are options available where you can do a royalty share, but I’m not too happy with the contracts, so I’m reluctant to do that too.  I did also consider having them in Braille – the “Toby’s Tales” series especially – but the only way I know to do that is via the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) and when I contacted them they wouldn’t even give my books a glance, since they’ve never heard of me, and I don’t have the backing of a known publisher.  So, for the time being at least, my books will stay as just ebooks.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Yes, I self-edit.  I do this because I don’t see the point in paying an editor when I can do it myself for free.  Even the best editor can miss typos; the mistakes you find in even traditionally published books these days proves that.  So, since I can do it myself with a bit of time, I don’t see any reason to pay someone else.

As for whether I think books suffer for not being professionally edited… I can honestly say that I’ve read professionally edited books with more typos than some of my first drafts (which are awful, let me tell you) and I’ve read self-edited books where I’ve failed to find a single typo.  So, no, I don’t think a book suffers for not being professionally edited.  I do, however, think a book suffers for being published before it’s been edited at all, just because the author is too eager to wait for it to be ready.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, quite often.  Some of it is excellent, some not so good.  But that’s the same regardless of the method of publication.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? I only read the reviews if I’m on the fence about buying a book and want some opinions on it to help me make up my mind.  But this doesn’t happen often, to be honest, and I’ll sometimes buy a book with bad reviews if the reasons given for the negative comments and low rating are ones I think are probably just people being petty.  I just use the reviews to get some opinions, then make up my own mind based on the synopsis and reviews.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Simple: read, write, and edit! All three of these apply whether you plan to use a traditional publisher or self-publish.

Firstly, if you don’t read, you’ll never make a good writer, because you won’t know what kinds of things make for a good book.  So, both before you begin writing and afterwards, read as much as you can; especially in the genre you hope to write in.

Secondly, if you want to write, just sit down and do it; don’t make excuses.  Too many people claim not to have the time to write.  Sure, OK, you may have a job and a family that both need your attention, and that’s fine; those are valid claims.  But if you really want to write then you’ll find the time.  Even five minutes here and there are enough; those five minute writing sessions all add up!

Thirdly, even if you plan to have a professional editor look at your work, make sure you do some editing yourself; a poorly edited manuscript doesn’t look very good for you.  A traditional publisher is more likely to take a proper look at your work if typos aren’t jumping out at him or her every couple of words, and people won’t come back for more from a self-published author who can’t take the time to do a bit of editing.  Like I said, even the best editor can miss things, so the more typos you catch yourself, the less your editor will need to find, and the more chance you’ll end up with a mistake-free project at the end of it.  And, if you’re your own editor, then it’s even more important to edit, edit, and edit again!

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I’m currently working my way through the books in Barbara G.Tarn’s “Books Of The Immortals” series, which I’m really enjoying; despite it being in a genre I don’t read much.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? What? Just one of each? Hmmm… I think this is the most difficult question of the entire interview! I love so many authors – traditionally published and self-published alike!

If I had to pick just one of each though… Well… It would have to be David Estes for the self-published author, and Hans Christian Anderson for the traditionally published author.  David Estes has an amazing young adult series made up of two sister series, and Hans Christian Anderson wrote the best fairy tales.  If you haven’t read David Estes’ “Dwellers” and “Country” sagas, then you’re missing out on a great set of books! And I don’t think I need to tell you how good Hans Christian Anderson is!

What are your views on authors offering free books? I think it’s strange when an author has all their books free, but free books can often be good promotional tools, and having one free as an option for people to use as a risk free way to try your work can be a good idea.  It can be kind of frustrating when people grab the free book, say they loved it, but don’t come back to buy your other books though.

On the subject of free books… I have a book called “Frank The Friendly Ogre” which is free all the time as a sample of my work.  Plus, to celebrate being author of the month on the “Smashwords Authors” group on Goodreads, I’ve got some books on sale on Smashwords throughout September – 6 free ones, 2 half price ones.  Details can be found on my blog.

Do you have any pets? I have four degus and 2 gerbils; all male.  The degus are called Jacob, Jasper, Jenks and Joshua, and are the stars of my “Degu Days Duo” books, and the gerbils are called Bilbo and Baggins.  Bilbo and Baggins don’t have their own book… Not yet, anyway!

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.com

 

Character Interview Number Twenty – Kero the Westie.

Name(s): “My name is actually Keroberous, but my human and I decided to just write it as Kero for my books.  We figured it would be easier for people to say if they were reading it out to someone.  It’s what I get called most of the time anyway; unless I’m in trouble.”

 Age: “I’ll be ten years old on May 23rd 2014.”

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. “A small white dog with pointed ears.”

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? “I love my human more than any other human or animal in the whole universe! I’ve known her since I was a tiny puppy with my furmama and we have a strong bond.  Being with her makes me feel safe.”

 Do you like other animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? “I love all other animals.  Well, all except birds.  I always try to make friends with any animals I meet in my day to day life.  I’ve had several adopted siblings of different species over the years: a budgie, cats, degus, other dogs, fish, gerbils, a guinea pig, hamsters, and a rabbit.  I’ve loved them all, though I’ve gotten on better with some than others.  Charlie – the budgie – I only tolerated though; if there’s one kind of animal I don’t like, it’s birds.  I might not have had bird issues, but after a scare I had thanks to Charlie, I really don’t like birds much.”

Do you have a family? Tell us about them. “I’m from a litter of 3 males and a female, but I don’t really remember my biological siblings and my Furmama that well.  I haven’t seen them since I was a couple of months old, and all I know is that my Furmama’s name is Serena Snowflake and they’re all Westies like me.  I don’t remember my Furpapa at all.  Since I was a couple of months old I’ve lived with the human I live with now, except for one time when I was with someone else for a lot of sleeps for a reason I don’t understand.  As I said, we’ve had several other animals in the house in that time too; some stayed only a very short time, others stayed for a few years.  Right now my adopted siblings are all rodents, and all male.  I’ve got four degu brothers named Jacob, Jasper, Jenks and Joshua, and a pair of gerbil brothers named Bilbo and Baggins.  The degus have a couple of books called ‘The Degu Days Duo’ if you want to read a bit more about them.  The gerbils don’t have any books out yet, but I heard they’d like to have one at some point in the future.  They’re all just copying me; I’m famous and they want a part of it.  But that’s how it always goes, isn’t it? One family member gets a bit of fame, and the rest want a bit of the action!”

 Do you have any phobias? “I’m afraid of a lot of things.  My biggest fear is being alone though; I suffer from severe separation anxiety.  I’ve suffered from it since I was a puppy, and any time my human has to go somewhere I have to have a doggysitter.  Even with the sitter though, I’m always terrified my human won’t come back, and so relieved each time she does.  My biggest phobia is that one day she won’t come back.”

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself? “I’m a terrier, and terriers are supposed to be rodent catchers, but I’m friends with rodents; I always look out for my rodent siblings, and have never attempted to harm one in my whole life.  Even when one of the hamsters got out of his cage once when I was a puppy all I did was stay near him and yap for the humans to get them to come and get him.  In fact, I never even tried to hurt the rat one of the cats brought home and let loose in our place once.  I’m a good boy!”

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. “My world is your world, but viewed from a lot lower down.  I’m only a foot high at the shoulder, and the world looks a lot different from down here!”

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? “I go for walkies most days; though not if it’s raining, because I don’t like to get wet.  We go to the park, to the beach, and in to town.  Sometimes the humans also make me go to the vet, which I really don’t enjoy.  You can read about some of the places I visit in ‘Kero Goes Walkies’ and ‘Kero Goes To Town’ if you want.  There’s also a bit about one of those vet trips I hate in ‘Kero Gets Sick’ if you want to read about that.”

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) “I don’t know what any of those are, but as far as I’m concerned I’m in charge.”

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? “We see lots of different races of people around where we live; most of them are nice.  I try to be friends with them all, and my human will willingly talk to any of them who are interested in talking to either me or her.  I hear a lot of people in the world don’t try and be friends with everyone though, which sounds strange to me; I think everyone should be friends! There’s a lot of wildlife around too.  Some of our neighbours are foxes, squirrels and badgers, not to mention the giant birds that live around here; my human says they’re called seagulls.”

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? “My world is your world, so I have access to the same technology as you.  I can’t use it, but it exists.  The thing I couldn’t live without is the fridge-freezer, because that’s where the meat and cheese live.”

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention? “The most important invention is cheese! I have no idea who came up with the idea of making cheese, but that person deserves a medal! I love cheese!”

 

***

 

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links:

Kero’s World, book 1: Kero Goes Walkies – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/312873

Kero’s World, book 2: Kero Celebrates His Birthday – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/319037

Kero’s World, book 3: Kero Gets Sick – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/324875

Kero’s World, book 4: Kero Celebrates Halloween – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/342194

Kero’s World, book 5: Kero Goes To Town – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/344560

Kero’s World, book 6: Kero Celebrates Christmas – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/344566

 

Author name: Victoria Zigler

 

Website/Blog/Author pages etc:

 

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.com

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler