Today I am excited to introduce author Sandra Scholes to my blog.
What genre(s) do you write in? Tell us about your books.
I have in the past written short stories for horror and fantasy newsletters, but have since got into the romance genre as I have enjoyed it the most (LGBT being one I really like). My vampire stories have been in The Chronicles, a newsletter for the London Vampyre Group, fantasy and fairy tail stories for Quail Bell Magazine and my reviews are for all genres including slipstream.
Tell us about your writing process. How do you fuel your writing?
I tend to get an idea in my head of what I want to write about, flesh it out and build on it using a kind of chart of personality traits and put some humour in there as readers like to know their characters have a sense of humour. When my review material doesn’t get too much, I do like to write about relationships and how they work out, or don’t in many ways. I tend to base most of what I write on real life relationships as the realism helps readers get to know the characters as they could be any one of us.
Where do you get your ideas for your writing?
I take a lot from what I’ve watched on TV or in films I’ve enjoyed and think about how emotions or character traits would fit into a character I could have an idea for and go with it. I do want to get originality from my characters, though, so I already have an idea of what kind of characters to create who are two people who can be opposites like Ed and Pete from my short story, Life’s A Beach from the anthology, Boys of Summer. It’s the tale of the poor guy and the rich guy on campus who might not get on, but could if they listened to each other. I like to think Pete’s a bit of a joker, not the hulk of a guy who seems to intimidate others.
What do you read? What are your favourite books and who are your favourite authors?
As a reviewer as well as an author of short fiction, I like to think I can read almost anything. In fact, I have at some point! My favourite authors have to begin with Stephen King who I’ve been reading since I was 18, Poppy Z. Brite, Edgar Allen Poe, Steve Berman, Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley,Terry Pratchett, Julie Garwood, Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, Gina Showalter, Eloisa James, Shungiku Nakamura, Ayano Yamane, Hajin Yoo, Makoto Tateno, Ashika Sakura, Yuki Shimizu, Eiki Eiki, Yun Koga and Rakun. I hope those who read this list take a look at some of the authors as I found them a real inspiration.
What inspires your creative process?
To be honest, I like to walk a lot, and if where I walk is picturesque, or scenic in any way, it seems to inspire me even if it’s only with a few jotted lines of my scrawl on a mini note book. I know its old school, but there is something timeless about writing your thoughts into a book that can eventually tarnish until they become memories.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out as a writer?
Always keep on reading as many books as you can and try to get better at what you do. We all start out writing at a certain level, but we can work our way up over several years and part of that is in reading books, whether they be fantasy, horror, romance or classical works, they are all important in forging us as writers. You have to enjoy writing to get started though, as I started out writing essays on art appreciation when I was back in college and writing really stuck with me for a long time afterwards.
What’s the best advice you’ve received as a writer?
Check everything and double check it to make sure before you submit it as there will almost always be a mistake in it! The English language is such that anyone can make an error with their work and overlook it. I have in the past, and regretted it, and also remember that in most cases you only get one chance.
What challenges have you faced in your writing and how did you overcome them?
When I got into writing, at the start I found my style basic and I left out some of the fundamentals, but after reading enough of what other writers were doing at the time, I managed to shape the story I jotted down on pieces of paper, typed up rough, then added to and put more feeling into as the months went on. I remember submitting one of my stories to an LGBT publisher for possible inclusion in one of their anthologies, but I got so caught up in explaining the story, that I didn’t take into account that they wanted something short and to the point with a message, more like a piece of flash fiction. It’s a case of looking before you leap and taking time to find out what publishers want from their writers.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
There are plenty of activities I like to do in my spare time. As I mentioned before, walking is a good way to get the inspiration going, but I also like to switch off when I can and drawing is one way of taking time out from reading, writing and reviewing. Artists like Boris Vallejo, Jon Hul, Wendy Pini, Victoria Frances, Larry Elmore, HR Giger and Luis Royo are who inspired me to take up drawing such fantastic images, while making cards, manga bookmarks and meeting up with my friends is always a pleasing experience for me.
Thank you so much Sandra for being here today. I’m with you on carrying a notebook as you walk. I find inspiration then too! And you list of favourite authors is great — I’ve read some of these, but will definitely have to look up others.
Sandra Scholes is a reviewer and short story writer currently living in the UK who has written several LGBT short stories for STARbooks Press in the US. Her other stories have appeared online and in newsletters and have received a good amount of criticism. Her early interest in several genres has led her to review some of the most popular novels around and her own blogs; Wicked Desires and JapanReviewer where her reviews for romance, Japanese animation and culture are to be found. Sandra divides her time writing for magazines and sites, where she writes press releases, author profiles and interviews for authors who feature on her blogs as well as newsletters for reviewing manga, anime and popular movies. She has worked for Albedo One, The British Fantasy Society, Love Romance Passion, Innsmouth Free Press, Diverse Japan and Active Anime.
Links to Sandra’s stories and reviews:
How to connect with Sandra:
My anthologies with links (by Sandra writing as A.J.Damian):
Boys of Summer Edited by Mickey Erlach
Black Dungeon Masters Edited by Marcus Anthony
Unmasked an d Undressed3 Edited by Eric Summers