The Heart & Soul of a Writer
The Writer's Prompt Author Interviews of 2022
Today we visit Cree Storm, an M/M Paranormal Romance writer from Quebec, Canada. Let me introduce you to her. Better yet, let me give her the honour of the introduction.
Hi there everyone. I'm Cree Storm. I'm a sister, a mom, a grandmother and a wife. I am the luckiest woman alive as far as I'm concerned. I have a beautiful family, and know if times get hard, I have my soul mate right there to help me through it. What makes my life even better is being able to do what I love for a living. I have always had a great imagination, and bringing those characters to life for you makes my heart and soul sing.
Although I travelled as a military brat and lived in places like Germany, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico, I have settled in Quebec, Canada, with my husband. I love being surrounded by nature and wildlife. There is nothing like sitting and watching the birds, squirrels and chipmunks fluttering around my yard or travelling around Canada and finding my mind creating worlds for you all to enjoy. Life is good, and I just want to bring some of my happiness into your life and hopefully make you smile, laugh and get away from everyday stress. Hugs and Love to you all, and I hope you enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them.
Thank you, Cree, for joining me today. My readers and I are looking forward to getting to know you better.
So let's begin. What inspired you to become a writer?
I am the youngest of four kids, and the oldest was ten years older than me, the other almost nine years older. They had already gone off to live their lives, and my brother was in private school, so I was on my own a lot. I lived in a very rural place surrounded by woods. The closest kids were over five miles away, which left me with a lot of time on my own. I would often get lost in these grand places my imagination would come up with, whether in the woods or my room. When I wasn't doing that, I read all kinds of books…especially Hardy Boys books (I loved those the most). It especially helped me go into that world of literature when my mom got cancer, and I would help her when she had Chemo treatments. Reading took me away from the horrors of my reality. I knew then all I wanted to do was write. I wanted to create a world someone going through a tough time could escape to for only a short time.
Your response moved me to tears. Thank you for sharing it with us. Most people find any art form therapeutic; I know I do. How long have you been writing?
I don't know how to answer that. I wrote many things during my school years but didn't get the chance to enter the writing field I'm in now until 2013.
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?
Hahahaha. That is always a question that tickles my funny bone. Okay, let me try and explain why I find it humorous. Maybe it would be best to give you an example.
I would pass this field next to this house, and I wouldn't see a fenced-in area, but instead, I saw a papa bear wearing a red and white striped apron flipping burgers on a grill while kids played with hula hoops and kick balls behind him. It was during the Olympics, and I started thinking about how cool it would be to have a shifter Olympics. Then I thought about how shifters have mates and how cool it would be to have it be games specific to mating, and then the voices started talking, and my MATING GAME series was born.
There is no planning I can do. The characters start talking, and I start writing. If I try and come up with a plan for a book, they just seem to laugh and do what they want. If I try and force it, the voices stop, and I can't write a word.
I can relate to this. When I plan things out, it always ends in writer's block. Do you follow a strict writing schedule, or do you sneak writing in when you have time?
I gave up everything to focus on my writing. I write when the characters talk. When I first wake up, I might write because they came into my dreams and wouldn't shut up. I might not write a word for days. I might write at two in the morning when I can't sleep. I write when I want. It would do me no good to schedule anything. The characters talk when they choose to speak, and there is no way I can make them say anything from 9-5.
LOL, yes, sometimes forcing just defeats the creative process. 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?
I'm a mixture, I think. I don't like to write a lot of location descriptions because I feel as if a reader often has a vision in their mind. I don't want to try and force them to see things they wouldn't like and get distracted from the story. For example, in my TWELVE LABORS series, I say they go to Olympus. I write some descriptions but not a lot because a vision immediately enters your mind when you see the word Olympus. Some might see it all white with Greek statues all around. Some might see it as gold figures everywhere. Hell, some might see it with cherubs fluttering all around large pillars. I want them to have their image in mind so they can focus on the story. Yet, there are times I feel the need to describe things because the location is extremely important in the story. For example, in my DEFENCE TROOPERS series, I have to describe the ship they are on and the different levels. The ship is important to the story, so they need to see how my characters see it, if that makes sense.
It makes perfect sense, thank you. 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?
No, but I use a person's characteristics and movements for characters in my books. Like when Maggie Walsh and I went to a casino in New York. The man checking us into our hotel was crazy funny, and we both looked at each other and said, "Oh, we need to put him in one of our ETERNAL FLAMES books. Mayor Buck was soon introduced to our MADDOX series.
That sounds familiar. I once saw a man on a bus and thought he would be perfect for a character. I quickly jotted down his description on a scrap of paper. I've lost the paper, but the image of him remains. Speaking of scraps of paper, do you have a purse or pocket full of napkins that have ideas written on them?
No, I keep a notebook in my car and next to my bed. When something comes to me, I ask my hubby to get the book and write it down for me as I tell him what I see or hear. I often just have to talk it out with my husband, and I'm good to go.
It's nice that your husband is so supportive. Your answer segues nicely into my next question; 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?
I have probably fifty. Some have things in them for stories, and others are blank, waiting for the story to be told.
I don't have that many, but I have a fair few, all waiting for me to get over writer's block. What scenes do you have the most fun writing? For example, fight scenes, heavy dialogue scenes, or scenes where your character is pondering the meaning of life.
I love writing a good fight scene, but in all honesty, I love writing the journey the two main characters go through in developing their relationship and truly falling in Love the most.
Very nice; I think you are a romantic at heart. Are you a single project writer, or do you have several projects on the go?
I have multiple projects going all at once because I never know what character will talk to me. It kind of sucks sometimes because I might be a chapter or two from finishing a book, and then another series starts talking, and I have to stop what I'm doing because their voices are so loud. Unless I write it, I won't finish the other one because that voice drowns everyone else. I may sound like I'm bitching, but I'm not. I love all my characters, and I must say they do keep me on my toes. The funny thing is, I rarely get confused about what's happening in what book; I just know. I call it my controlled chaos.
"Controlled chaos" I like that. What have you learned about yourself from being a writer regarding your strengths and weaknesses?
Okay, I am not the best with description. I'm not talking about location as much as character description. I struggle sometimes getting a reader to see what my character looks like, especially colour. I am partially colorblind from a long time ago accident, and it can cause issues from time to time in my writing. However, I'm great at letting a person come to understand who a character is on the inside, and I think that's more important than anything. People tell me what they love about my books and what makes them different from other authors is how unique my shifters are. I have a skunk, beaver, and giant golden bat. I have an entire series, HAVEN RANCH and their spin-offs, SOVEREIGNTY ISLAND and THE HIGHLANDS, where all my shifters are mixed animal shifters. Like a dolphin/flamingo, Vampire/Snake, or even a fluffy white bunny/dove. It is incredibly fun to write this series.
I'm intrigued. Your shifters are quite different indeed. You are a very creative thinker. Are you 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 you knit a sweater?
I write more than anything, but I also knit because it's relaxing. But cooking is something I love to do when I'm working out a writing snag I'm trying to get through.
I never picked up knitting. I do like to crochet, though. As far as cooking goes, well, let's just say I would rather create art o putter around in the garden. Have there been any exciting changes in your life due to 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?
I love hearing from my readers, and I will answer questions if asked as best I can. I can only smile when they get so excited because they can talk to me. But it's just as special for me to speak to them. As for living off my writing, I am the only working person in my home. My husband has seizures and is unable to work. With the proceeds from my writing, I can keep us going. If I have to stop writing to take care of him, it's all good. I love that I can do that for him since he is so wonderful at taking care of me. I am a VERY lucky woman.
It is so lovely to hear that you have a wonderfully supportive relationship. It makes this career choice more manageable. What publishing route do you prefer, self-publication, traditional or hybrid, and why?
I prefer self-publication. There's nothing wrong with going with a publisher, and I recommend it for new authors. The thing is, I like having control over my covers, edits and stuff like that. If I'm going to have editing issues and get told off about it, I'd rather it be because of me and not because the publisher I used had poor editors doing one of my books.
Interesting. I self-publish, but I made that choice right from the start. Now that you are a published writer, what sage advice do you have for budding authors looking to publish their first book?
Have faith in yourself. If a story is talking to you, listen to what it's saying. Don't try and tell the story how it's going to be. The characters know, trust them. Also, be prepared to put a piece of yourself in each book you write. When an author says, "this book is my baby," it's because a part of them went into writing the book.
Also, as wonderful as reviews are, that doesn't mean you have to live and die by them. Not everyone will love what you write; after all, do you love everything you read? No. Write for you. That doesn't mean you don't appreciate the constructive criticism that's brought your way. "Constructive" is the word to remember.
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.
As I said, I started with a publisher when I began writing. They had the rights to three of my series and one spin-off for five years per book. I'm finally getting the rights returned to me!! That means no new books can be written because they own the characters until that date is up.
December 22, 2021: MYSTIC was returned. I had a party to celebrate.
January 23, 2022: CAPULET comes home.
March 13, 2022: TWELVE LABORS
All books will be re-edited, new covers attached and words added before being re-released to the public.
Wow, that is quite the undertaking; I hope it all goes well for you. Thank you so much, Cree, for participating in my project; my readers and I enjoyed getting to know you better. I wish you all the best with your writing career.
To purchase Cree Storm's work, please see the links below.
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3Dfv5Hy
To follow Cree Storm please visit these links:
Facebook Profile Page: https://bit.ly/2KejyQl
Facebook Cree Storm Book Series Page: https://bit.ly/2iXR8JL
WIP Page: https://www.facebook.com/creestormwip
Cree's Captivating Crew: https://bit.ly/2Gugyx7
Maggie & Cree's Eternal Fan Group: https://bit.ly/2DlszSd
NOTE: All photos were provided by the author Cree Storm, who retains copyrights to them.