A Free-Flowing Writer
The Writer's Prompt Author Project 2022
This week, I journey out west and meet up with a fellow wordsmith that I know personally. Please welcome Mandy Eve-Barnett to TWP Author Community. Mandy is a multi-genre author and prolific writer from the lovely province of Alberta. Let's find out a little bit more about her.
From children's to YA to adult genres, every one of Mandy's stories has a basis of love, nature, magic and mystery. Her passion for writing emerged later in life and she is making up for lost time. With nine books published since 2011 and another five awaiting the editing process, she indulges her Muse in creative as well as freelance writing. Mandy regularly blogs at http://www.mandyevebarnett.com, where she encourages, supports for networking for writers and readers alike. She is also prolific on social media. As secretary of her local writers group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, she hosts the monthly meetings and creates weekly writing prompts for the website. She is the Secretary of the Alberta Authors Cooperative and past President of the Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County Council. Mandy Eve-Barnett lives her creative life to the fullest.
Thank you, Mandy, for participating in my project this year. Let's get right to the questions and find out what makes you tick and how you process creativity.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Initially, my foray into writing was by pure chance, when I attended a writing group meeting. I enjoyed the other members stories and through the process of utilizing writing prompts, quickly became obsessed. My inspiration comes from being able to create whole worlds from my imagination and everyone and everything within them.
I find it fascinating how group members can take the same writing prompt in many different directions.
How long have you been writing?
I began in 2009 – a little later in life to the art of writing, it has however become my favorite creative art form. My previous creative outlets were numerous other mediums, including painting, pottery, textiles and more.
Ahh, a fellow creative being. I love that you work with all those different mediums.
What type of writer are you? For example, do you plan out your storyline and have a bio for each character, or do you let the creativity flow and see where it leads you?
All of my stories flow from imagery in my mind, much like a movie playing in my head. I 'transcribe' what I see. This type of writing is called free-flow or pantser. However, my current work in progress is a trilogy, so there was some planning involved to ensure the timeline and location details were correct across three novels.
I am so glad that I started this project because I learned that I am a pantser too; it is nice to be in good company.
Do you follow a strict writing schedule, or do you sneak writing in when you have time?
I have to squeeze my writing in as I work full time, and volunteer as secretary for my writing group as well as hold the position of secretary with an authors cooperative. Not to mention friends and family commitments. I go on numerous writing retreats throughout the year to gain writing time.
You have a very busy schedule. I have never been on a writing retreat. It sounds interesting. I will have to try it sometime.
What is your writing style? For example, are you a meat and potatoes leave it to the readers' imagination kind of writer, or are you a heavy with description, dialogue, and lots of extra gravy writer?
This all depends on which genre and age group I am writing for. I tend to write enough to enable my readers to gain an idea of place or character without so much exposition it stalls the story. It is a fine balance as some readers want everything laid out, while others want to use their imaginations.
You are the first author (so far) that answered the question this way; interesting response.
Since becoming a writer, have you acquired any unusual peculiarities? for example, do you find yourself studying people more and critiquing their habits or editing their speech?
I find editing errors in all the books I read now. Although, I do try to stop my inner editor. I have always been observant but can now use people, places and subjects in a whole new way.
I am at the stage where I see the editing errors (in other writers' work), but I read past them and continue enjoying the story. I am sure that will change with experience. To be honest, I am really hoping it doesn't.
When I first started writing, I had ideas written down on any scrap piece of paper I could find. Do you have a purse or pocket full of napkins/paper that has ideas written on them?"
I actually have lots of mini-notebooks in my purse, beside my bed and laptop.
How many new, unused writing journals do you currently own? Did you buy them for future projects or because they look pretty, or because you can't remember where the other ones are?
Getting into secrets are we with the questions. Currently I have 6 beautiful journals that I have not written in. All of them have been gifts.
(Insert chuckle) No secrets, just researching commonalities between creative thinkers.
What scenes do you have the most fun writing? For example, fight scenes, heavy dialogue scenes, or scenes where your character ponders life's meaning.
The scenes I love the most are the ones my characters literally dictate to me. I go with the flow of them. Each scene has its own enjoyment, whether it is a love scene, a fight or something gruesome. It is an opportunity to learn and develop my skill become so absorbed in the moment, I am in that world.
Are you a single project writer, or do you have several projects on the go?
I like to immerse myself in one world at a time. To 'feel' the characters and let them 'talk' to me. Of course, sometimes one secondary character will take over the narrative and want to have a more inclusive role.
I understand the latter part of your answer. that happened to me in the WWC. A secondary character ended up having a leading role because he incessantly chattered in my ear that he needed more playtime. LOL
What have you learned about yourself from being a writer regarding your strengths and weaknesses?
As I am originally from England some of my word usage and common sayings have to be changed during editing as they are not locally or globally known.
Interesting. People often ask if I am from England because of how I annunciate my words. I think the influence came from watching the Benny Hill Show when I was a kid.
I know you previously mentioned other creative mediums but are you now strictly a writer, or do you have other creative outlets? For example, do you enjoy participating in Paint Nights or know how to strum a guitar or can knit a sweater?
I like to dabble. Prior to the pandemic, I used to hold monthly creative workshops once a month with a group of friends and we would tackle a new creative art. It was so much fun.
I didn't know that about you. I love instructing art workshops. I can hardly wait to start again.
Have there been any exciting changes in your life as a result of being a published author? For example, do strangers ask for your autograph, do you have a movie deal in the works, or can you now live solely off your writing income?
The most exciting occasion was when I had several readers ask me to write a sequel to my medieval mystery novella, The Rython Kingdom. I had not planned on writing another but was pleased to be asked. I wrote Rython Legacy especially for those readers. I also love being part of such a supportive community and have made connections worldwide. My books do give me a nice income, but my freelance writing is also profitable.
Good to know about freelance writing. I've looked into it but have never pursued it seriously.
What publishing route do you prefer, self-publication, traditional or hybrid, and why?
My publisher, Dream Write Publishing, is what is called a hybrid. They give me the opportunity to have a great deal of input into how my book looks and its content.
I've met your publisher. It must be really nice to have that extra support.
Now that you are a published writer, what sage advice do you have for budding authors looking to publish their first book?
Firstly, be honest about your skill level and decide if you are confident enough to format, design and market your book yourself. There is a lot of technical components to self-publishing. If any of these tasks are daunting, then research publishers carefully, avoid any vanity presses. Find a publisher who will not only help you but allow you to have input in the publishing process. Look at the publishers who have similar genre books in their catalogue to yours, this gives you a great starting point. The biggest piece of advice I will give is always get a professional editor no matter which route you take. A badly edited books reflects on you the author no-one else.
Great advice. But I would like to add that even when you hire a professional editor, there can be mistakes, as I, unfortunately, learned with the first book in the WWC. Eight hundred dollars later, it still needs another professional edit, as do the other books in the series. Be cautious as to who you hire and do a background check. Like in any profession, not all editors are equal.
In 100 words or less, tell us what you have planned for your writing career for 2022. For example, are you releasing a new book/s and or attending author events?
I will launch the first book of my crime trilogy, The Delphic Murders in 2022 entitled An Elusive Trail and continue writing the second book, A Tainted Search. I'll continue contributing to Opal Writer's Magazine and hosting the monthly writers meeting for the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. These are in addition to my role as secretary of the WFSC and Alberta Authors Cooperative. I will also be participating as a presenter in Woodbridge, Lethbridge, and organize and attend WFSC's annual writers conference and Words in the Park events.
Thank you, Mandy, for the visit. It sounds like you have a busy and wonderful year ahead of you. I wish you all the best in your writing journey.
To connect with The Writer's Prompt Author Community, please visit https://www.sdferrell.com/writersprompt and join our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewritersprompt
To connect with Mandy and purchase her books, please visit the following links.
Social media links:
Alberta Authors Cooperative https://www.albertaauthorscooperative.ca/Authors/Eve-Barnett/Mandy
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V