Welcome to my blog Wendy and Myron. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about yourself, your book, writing services and travel experiences.
Myron at Work
Q. Tell us about your latest work—title, genre, etc. — and why you wrote it?
A. Cats are creatures with multiple personalities…most of them good. They pay attention to the most important matters at hand and don’t give a second look at something bothersome. We could learn something from them…
That’s why I “asked” my cat, Myron, to share some wisdom on how he lives life. It’s a simple concept, really. But one we often overlook.
This humorous short read reminds us how to slow down and enjoy life like a pampered cat. Remember…don’t take yourself too seriously.
Q What draws you to your genre(s)? Why is this type of story compelling to you?
A. Humor has always been an important part of my life. Seeing things differently is second nature to me. Combining those I watch as Myron often provides me with inspiration as well as humor throughout the day.
Working from a home office, distractions are inevitable. Distractions from him sometimes help my writing or editing processes. Those distractions can help if I get “stuck” when writing. They remind me to look at things differently.
Myron’s antics and his view of life’s issues provided the background for this book.
Q. What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out or do you just let it unfold?
A. I start with an outline. Regardless of the size of the book I am writing…I start with an outline. Often it will be revised and additions will be made. But it is a starting point for me and it keeps me working toward my end result.
Having said that, things do unfold throughout the process. And that’s okay. But I feel it is a more cohesive piece by starting with an outline. It is the roadmap in my process.
Q. What kind of research was involved in writing your book?
A. For this book…not much. Observing my cat is about all it took. That’s not true of other books I have written or am writing, however!
Q. How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
A. Many times, my sense of humor makes it into my characters. For this book…I believe my sense of humor allowed me to take Myron’s antics and expressions and turn them into “lessons”.
Q. What is the most positive experience in your writing process?
A. Helping other authors realize their dream of having their manuscript turned into a book. It happens over and over. Plus, it’s nice when I get a referral from a satisfied client. That always feels great.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
A. When I am writing a book that requires research…that is a part I do not enjoy doing and becomes a “chore” for me. In a perfect world the research would be already done for me and then I would just use it as I need it.
The other piece is devoting time. As we all know our everyday lives get so involved. Writing is on my calendar but some days I let interruptions take over. I’m getting better about this, though.
Q. Do you have a favorite place where you like to write?
A. In the spring, summer, and fall…by the pool. In the winter…in my office.
Q. How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?
A. Balancing my writing with other necessities is easier some days than others. For me, I rely heavily on my calendar. I’d like to say I strictly stick to that calendar…but not so.
It does keep me focused and gives me a weekly overview of what I need to get done.
Since I do manuscript editing on a freelance basis sometimes that takes precedence when I should be writing. Therefore, I have developed a system which works fairly well. I devote a full day some weeks or a few half days other weeks to my writing and not my editing business. Those days are added to my calendar.
Throughout the course of writing books and articles I now know what it takes to accomplish a completed project, whether that is a book, e-book, or magazine article. I set a deadline for myself and add it to my calendar. Again, that can change. But I have found it doesn’t change all that much once it is on my calendar.
When I first started I only put my writing on my “imaginary calendar” and not on my “real” one. That did not work. My writing always got lost somewhere.
Q. What do you read for fun when you’re not writing?
A. I love fiction books, humorous books, travel books, inspirational books…depending upon my mood. I also like to read home and garden magazines.
Q. Have there been any authors in particular, that inspired your writing?
A. Styles vary of the authors I love to read. Jack Canfield, John C. Maxwell, Danielle Steele, Erma Bombeck, Nora Roberts, Seth Godin, Robert Kiyosaki, Dave Barry…as you can see this varied list goes on and on.
Q. Is there a story you want to tell behind or about your work(s)?
A. About this book…only that life is short and we need to enjoy it as well as ourselves.
Q. What other projects are you currently working on or about to start?
A. I just co-authored a book about women and success…”My Life the Sequel; a Girlfriend’s Guide to Personal Success”.
Currently I am working on a couple of other books.
I am writing one about my dad and WWII. This is a fiction book, based on facts. Dad had stories but did not share all of them. After he died I found a box of “things” from WWII, with photos, stories, letters, and more. I also learned some things from my aunt. The story is from a daughter’s perspective, finding this box, and remembering the stories as a little girl. That’s why it will be fiction…I do not have all the facts.
Secondly, I am co-authoring a series of children’s books. These will be from Myron’s perspective once again. This time they will have a message for children, one per book. For instance, one will be about saying please and thank you, another will be about telling the truth, another about bullying, and so on.
Q Could you share some of your marketing strategies? Which ones are the most effective in your opinion?
A. I use a management services firm to do my websites, monthly newsletter, social media postings, blogs, and other marketing items. It is up to me to develop how I want things to look, add content to the blogs, write the newsletter, etc. They put it together and do the postings.
This is the part that is my least favorite. Perhaps because I know the least about it!
Again, I add my responsibilities to my calendar. It is on my 2012 list to learn more, develop more of a plan, and move it forward.
Q. What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?
A. Educate yourself on the process of writing, researching, editing, publishing, self publishing, and marketing your books.
Gather as much information as possible. If this means taking a workshop, attending a seminar, or whatever…do it.
If you are not already disciplined…develop that discipline.
Develop a process that works for you…start with a calendar to set aside your writing time, research time, etc.
Gather a team to help you…an editor, cover designer, formatter, marketer, web designer, publisher, and more. All of these professionals must be involved if you want a polished product. If you want to write…write. Let other professionals do their parts. You do not need to do it all. In fact, it’s better if you do not.
Q. I understand that you along with your books you provide a writing and editing service. Could you tell our readers about this?
A. Yes. As a published author I understand what it takes for an author to turn his or her writings into a finished product. In my VanHatten Writing Services I offer several approaches for authors.
I offer a One on One Coaching Program where a new author or one needing some extra help can work with me. In this I tailor my program to meet their needs. For instance if a writer is just getting started but keeps getting stuck or off track in their writings…I help them by setting some goals, putting some accountability measures in place, help with developing an outline, and so on. I offer feedback, assistance, and work closely with the writer. Sometimes a seasoned author will hire me to assist in one part of their manuscript in order to get the “flow” better or to develop a character.
In addition, I am a freelance editor for authors. I work with authors of most genres all over the world editing their manuscripts and assisting them in getting their manuscripts ready for publishing. I edit website copy for some business owners, business brochures, magazine articles, promotional submissions, etc.
I am also an editor for a regional magazine in northern California. My travel articles can be found in a quarterly publication, Siouxland.
Q. Is your blog on Travels and Escapes mostly about places you have been? Where is your favorite place in the world?
A. in my Travels and Escapes blog, the places I talk about are places I have been. Occasionally I will give some info regarding a place I have heard about and will ask for feedback from readers. Also, the tips and ideas are ones that have been used by me or by a trusted source. Anything on there will have been tested and tried. All the photos are ones I have taken.
My favorite place…that’s a hard one to answer. There are so many I love. If I could list a few they would include: the northern California coast; Yosemite National Park; Sienna, Italy; Sedona, Arizona; beaches in San Diego, CA; Luxembourg, Napa Valley, CA in the spring…the list goes on and on.
In a nutshell my favorite place is where I am traveling to next.
Again, thanks Wendy for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. We appreciate you and your work. And a special thanks to Myron for all his hard work!
Good luck with your current and future publications.
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