- How long have you been writing?
- Pretty much most of my life. But I got serious with it while writing record and concert reviews for my high school newspaper.
- How many books have you authored? Please give us up to 3 titles?
- I’ve written one novel—Jazz Baby—and a collection of short stories called Slivers of Life. I also have short stories in about six other anthologies. I hope to have a second short story collection for release this spring.
- Do you have a writing schedule?
- I do not have a schedule. I write when the urge strikes.
- You’re a member of RAVE WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA). Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group?
- I’d like to believe it’s because I spent a lot of time getting my novel just right. Quality is what RWISA is all about. I certainly care about quality—both in what I write and what I read.
- Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world?
- My stories. They are all mine. They come from inside of me. I have a way of hearing what the characters are saying. I can feel the story as I’m creating it.
- If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Why?
- M. Homes. She writes great quirky stories with strange characters. Her style changes with each different story she creates—which keeps her writing fresh and inventive.
- Are you a die-hard INDIE writer who loves having complete control of your work, or, if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line?
- I’d sign. I’m not going to lie. If given a chance to have a major marketing machine behind my work, I would grab that brass ring and stuff it in my pocket—along with the advance check! However, as an indie, I have the final say in everything connected to my work. Indie is where I am, and I will never be anything other than proud to be part of the indie community.
- As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- On the set of Jazz Baby: The Movie as a paid consultant to the director. If not, hopefully I’ll be content with wherever I may be. Of course, I hope to have a couple more novels finished by then.
- What is the ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books?
- RRBC, without a doubt. The internet is vital to a writer these days. But belonging to a huge community like RRBC gives us a greater platform within the internet platform. We carry name recognition among our fellow members. This is so vital.
- What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers but those aspiring to be great writers?
- Don’t rely on your own eyes to edit your work. It doesn’t matter how good you are—or think you are. A writer is too close to the story. A good editor and beta reader will point out what the author may not see—or refuses to see. Just write the story to the best of your ability and let the editor have that final draft.
- Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work?
- Well, you’re speaking to a writer who notoriously took years on a single novel. I am not in a hurry to release anything just to have it out there. However, there are some amazing writers who churn out good stories at rapid speed. Sure, the quality suffers in some cases, but certainly not in every case. I’m too much of a perfectionist to release books at a rapid rate.
- If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or, would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready?
- No matter your reason, please explain why? I’m going to disappoint. In fact, I had said my second novel would be ready by 2014. Well, it’s still not out there yet. Hopefully by this fall. But I will not release it before it’s as perfect as I can get it. These stories represent me. They represent my craft. They tell the world that either I can write a great story, or they rat me out and show I don’t know my head from a hole in the ozone layer.
- In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?”
- Well-developed characters, a strong plot, no clichés, originality, and a good understanding of writing. If you’re offering to take me on a trip, don’t drive me to Walmart and expect me to jump for joy in the electronics department. Fly me to Paris, let me wander the halls of the Louvre, take me to the top of Eiffel’s grand landmark. Dazzle me! Thrill me! Entertain me!
- If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing & proofing “issues,” what’s the first thing you would do? And the second?
- First, I would have to get with my publisher, open the bookblock with an editor and a proofreader, and clean up the errors. Then I would release the clean version, offering free copies to those who already purchased the hardcover or paperback versions.
Why Professional Editing is Vital for ALL Authors. – Beem Weeks
We are writers. It’s what we do. Some of us are fortunate enough to earn a living from our work. Others live a life of luxury because they have connected with millions of readers across the globe. But for the majority, a day job or pension is what keeps us alive. Writing is just what we do on the side while dreaming of a better day. Even so, that’s still not an excuse to trust our own eyes to the very important task of editing our work before it ends up on the websites at Amazon or Barnes & Nobel.
I understand the notion: I’m a good writer. I know where to place the commas and the periods. And I can spell encyclopedia in my sleep. Fine as that may be, it doesn’t make you a professional editor. Editors do more than search out misspellings and poor punctuation. Editors can sniff out bad grammar, trouble with the POV character, and the over-abundance of useless minutia that so often bogs down the story.
Editors are not your friends nor your family. They tend to be blunt and honest. If your story has issues the author cannot or will not recognize, the editor is there to fix them before they get loose and shred your readers to pieces. It’s always worth the time and money to bring in a professional editor. And no: Mom or Aunt Mathilda do not count as editors. They’ll only tell you your work is wonderful. It’s their job to do so. The last thing a writer needs is to be surrounded by yes-people.
Book Title: Jazz Baby
Book Title: Slivers of Life
Twitter Handle: @BeemWeeks