Kathy walked into TheCorkScrew. During the day it had masqueraded as a cafe with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks, and any alcohol you felt like adding. At night the old place truly came alive as the beloved town bar where everyone met to have fun and catch up.
However, the building no longer met fire code regulations. It hadn’t when she started working here as a bartender when she was sixteen, having procured a fake ID. But twenty-five years later the place was so terrible it had to be torn down; even renovations couldn’t save The CorkScrew.
At the front of the bar were bottles from years gone by. For some reason one could still get an ancient bottle of 7Up to mix with lime juice and Vodka. There was original Coca Cola and original Pepsi, whatever you preferred to have with your Rye or Rum.
Kathy along with neighbors, patrons, and friends — some she’d known all her life — had come to the bar one last time to watch as The CorkScrew was boarded-up. Oddly enough, even the rats seemed to be leaving the building, which only made Kathy cry harder.
Welcome to another edition of my bi-weekly writer interview series. Today I have interviewed the fascinating and lovely, science-fiction and fantasy writer MelindaKucsera. You can visit here blog here: www.melindakucsera.com
1. Melinda, Please Tell Us About Yourself?
I’m an IT project manager for an academic journal publisher by day. By night, I write fantasy books, science-fiction books, and short stories. Then, I post them to me blog: www.melindakucsera.com
2. When did you start writing and blogging?
I started building my own world, when I was small and fleshed out a fantasy world for my characters to live in. Originally, my world only had one country called Shayari. But my world grew to include other countries as well as extensions into other worlds and realms.
I used to tell stories about Shayari and its people to my siblings, the kids I babysat, (etc). But I didn’t write my stories down until I was in middle school and even then, I spent more time writing about my created world and its peculiarities than its people.
Around the age of sixteen-years-old, I came across the book: The Winds of Fate by Mercedes Lackey at my local library. It was the first fantasy book I’d ever come intocontact with and it gave me the idea to write down the stories I had been imagining. I thought, if readers liked Lackey’s fantasy world, then they’d like mine too. So, I began writing all my stories down. And I don’t have to tell you, writing for me is pure joy. I’d rather write than do anything else.
I started blogging a year ago in 2015 because everyone kept telling me I should do it. Blogging seemed like a good way to start fulfilling my sister’s last request. She asked that I publish the stories she grew-up loving so that other people could enjoy them as well.
” . . .I began writing all my stories down. And I don’t have to tell you, writing for me is pure joy. I’d rather writer than do anything else . . . Blogging seemed like a good way to start fulfilling my sister’s last request. She asked that I publish the stories she grew-up loving so that other people could enjoy them as well.” – Melinda Kucsera
3. What Does Writing Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
I write for the joy of it and because I can’t not write. There’s an ever expanding number of characters walking in and out of my imagination, demanding that I capture their life in words. I want to write these character’s stories. Their stories are compelling and they always show me tantalizing bits which make me want to know more!
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
Writing is the first and last thing I think about every day. In fact, every other thought I have is about a story in progress, or a character, or an idea for a character for a story. My imagination has no off switch. It never takes a vacation and it doesn’t sleep. It’s always working away in the background, no matter what I am doing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s no logic to what my imagination latches onto and spins into a story or character.
“My imagination has no off switch. It never takes a vacation and it doesn’t sleep. It’s always working away in the background, no matter what I am doing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s no logic to what my imagination latches onto and spins into a story or character.” – Melinda Kucsera
5. Do You Find There is a Time of Day You Most Enjoy to Write?
No, I steal time for writing whenever and wherever I can. I have a demanding day job which keeps me busy for eleven to twelve hours-a-day, five-days a week, if you factor in my commute time to and from work. Additionally, I’m a fitness and health nut and I walk anywhere from one to three hours each day. Thank God for smartphones, they allow me to write, edit, and walk at the same time.
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Do You Have Any Hopeful Projects?
I have too many projects! I love working on multiple projects at the same time, hence, my day job as a project manager.My most current projects are:
1.Curse Breaker: Enchanted, which is on sale on Amazon at http://bit.ly/CurseMK. Sarn must find out why a child was murdered in the enchanted forest before the same fate befallshim or his son. (It’s a heartwarming fantasy tale). I’m finalizing the Kindle version and will start the print edition hopefully, the week following.
2. Curse Breaker: Faceted, which is the sequel to Curse Breaker: Enchanted, (Dec 2016/Jan 2017 release). It’s already written and I only need to edit the novel. In this book, odd events happen around an old tower which only Sarn can remember seeing. These occurrences are building up to something and Sarn wants nothing to do with it. But he can’t escape what’s coming…
3.Curse Breaker: Jousted, book three of the Curse Breaker Saga (March/April 2017 release). Sarn and his family take in a joust which takes a deadly turn when extinct creatures show up.Who will survive the hunter’s game?
4.Curse Breaker: Trapped, book four of the Curse Breaker Saga (June/July 2017 release). Sarn’sluck has finally run out. The silence that hid his son for the last four years now doomshim when an old enemy shows up to even the score. Sarn’s two lives collide and his sonhangs in the balance.
5. I’m also working on several other novels and extensions for the short stories readershave requested. And I publish a short story a day on my blog so yeah, I’m also working on blogging short stories as well.
” . . . I walk anywhere from one to three hours each day. Thank God for smartphones. They allow me to talk, edit, and walk at the same time.” – Melinda Kucsera
7. Are You Planning to Publish More Works of Writing in the Future? Do You Have Other Published Works Besides What You Are Currently Working On?
Yes, I am planning to publish my stories. My sister asked me to publish my stories before her death in 2014;it is one promise, I intend to keep.
Additionally, as stated above, I plan to publish the first four books of the Curse Breaker Saga: Curse Breaker: Enchanted (9/27/2016); Curse Breaker: Faceted (December 2016/early January); Curse Breaker: Jousted (March/April 2017); and Curse Breaker: Trapped (June/July 2017). I haven’t figured out which book will follow book four, possibly a book book five; but I’m not sure yet.
8. Can you Briefly Describe the Process You Are Going Through to Publish Your Curse Breaker Series of Books?
Sure, though I’m making this up as I go along. Consider yourself forewarned. I couldn’t afford an editor so I’m doing all editing myself. For me this means:
1. I submit each chapter to The Hemingway App which is a fantastic writer’s tool. It highlights uses of passive voice, wordiness, hard to read sentences, adverbs, words that can be simplified,(etc). I edit my chapter based on The Hemingway Appsuggestions and until I’m satisfied with my editing.
2. I also, use an app an on my android phone calledVoice Reader. It essentially, reads myword document of my manuscript to me and I edit my book while I walk. I listen to eachsection in my book two-times.
3. I spell and grammar check my entire manuscript in MS Word as well as double-check the meanings of words to ensure I am using them correctly. To ensure I’m using wordscorrectly, I use: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
4. After completing the appropriate steps to self-edit a group of chapters, I send them to my beta reader and wait for feedback while I work on the next group of chapters requiring editing.
5. Once, everything is edited to my satisfaction from self-editing and the comments ofmy beta reader, I will listen to the entire book one last time, to be certain I’ve caught any missed mistakes.
6. I designed the covers for the Curse Breaker Saga since I know my way around Photoshop. But first, I researched. I browsed audio books and ogled a lot of book covers. I may have bought a bunch of those books. I asked my cube-mate fro, work, who is the web designer from my day job, for feedback on the covers but she didn’t have any.
7. Next, I formatted my book for Kindle which required me to apply some styles in MSWord, slap in a hyperlinked TOC, and I was done.
8. After, I created a new MS Worddocument and set it upfor print. I cut and pastedchapter by chapter, following basic design rules (chapter heads always start on the righthand page etc.) I always chose the ‘paste as plain text’ option AND THEN I applied the newstyles. If the document is set up right this process is boring but painless.
9. I submitted two documents using self-publishing, one to Amazonand one to a printer to proof and print/put up for sale.
9. How Does Your Writing Process Work? Do Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Writing and Reading?
I write whenever I can steal a few minutes to do so. I always have pages of my writing, clawing its way out of my head. Also, I love audio books. They are the only books I read anymore. As for genres, I love fantasy and science-fiction. Reading science-fiction, I especially enjoy military, speculative, and hard science-fiction. I also like to read whatever else catches my eye when I feel like reading.
” I submit each chapter to The Hemingway App which is a fantastic writer’s tool [for editing] . . . I also, use an app an on my android phone called Voice Reader . . . I edit my book while I walk. I listen to each section in my book two-times.” – Melinda Kucsera
10. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Writers Or Anything Else You’d Like To Share Related To Writing or Yourself?
Write because you love writing; write for yourself not for others. Read a lot and if you’re busy, listen to a lot of audio-books while you do other work. Hearing great writing in your ear and thinking about it in your mind is vital. So read, hear, think, about writing,however, you can.
11. Please Share With Us a Few Links from Your Blog With Some of Your Favorite Pieces?
“SARN indentured himself four years ago to pay for his brother’s education. It was a desperate bid to help his brother escape the cycle of poverty. For him there was never any hope, not while his body brims with illegal magic that just so happens to fuel the perpetual glow of his green eyes.
THE BARGAIN…The terms of his indenture landed him a stint with the Rangers who patrol the enchanted forest until a party of travelers is attacked in the forest’s midst and killed. Everything changes when that first drop of blood is spilled, waking the forest’s ire.
THE MYSTERY… Sarn tries to stay out of sight and trouble but one of the Rangers has plans for him. And the ghost of a child murdered in the forest haunts him—a green-eyed child just like his own son. Who killed this boy and the party he traveled with and why? The answer might cost his sanity but to find it, he risks losing the son he’s kept a secret for four years. Not finding the answer might damn his son to share that murdered boy’s fate.
As conflicting plans collide beneath enchanted boughs, one thing is certain. If Sarn can’t get his magic under control, he’ll never find the answers that he seeks. But how far is he willing to go to find those answers? The search might cost more than his sanity; it might cost his life.”
12. Here are Some Short Excerpts of Curse Breaker: Enchanted Below from Melinda’s Blog:
Hope you enjoyed today’s interview. I know I did 🙂 If you would like to share about yourself and your writing in my bi-weekly interview series, please reach-out to me through my Contact Page here. Thanks for reading!