Author: Ryan Shorten
Attending Tivedon should have been the most exciting time in Jayl's young life. However, when inexplicable things begin to darken the hallowed halls of of the school and he's accused of murder, Jayl finds himself thrust into a quest to save himself, his home, and ultimately all of Tiertyn itself.
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Let's give a warm Alleyway welcome to Author Ryan Shorten!!
It's great to have you pay us a visit, Ryan. Let's get down to a few questions.
What or who inspired you to start writing?
Having been a huge fan of Fantasy from a young age, the stories I read began laying the foundation for what became a passion for writing. Other worlds and mythical creatures occupied my creative imagination and simply put; writing provided an expressive outlet I needed.
Describe yourself in 5 to 10 words.
Afflicted with a word addiction and alliteration of a too often verbose imagination…even I’m not sure what that means.
I actually found the biggest challenge in writing YA came out after I had published the novel. While the reviews have been positive, a comment that has come up a couple times is the story (language and characters) seems more geared towards an MG audience. In retrospect, I can understand the observation. YA readers today are more mature. While I still see my story as enjoyable to a YA audience, I do now believe it works as a mature MG novel as well. I think the challenge with writing YA (and having YA – aged characters) is to make sure the leaning is more towards the older ‘teens’ rather than ‘tweens’. Young readers will read ‘up’ and ‘older’, and older readers will not feel the story is too ‘kiddy’.
What do you see as the three most important elements of writing a novel?
1) Know your Character(s)’s ‘voice’. Having a good story line/plot is important, but spending a good deal of time on exploring who your characters are will give them a unique identity that readers will be attracted to.
2) Persistence. Write as much as you can, knowing that a good deal of it will be discarded or completely reworked.
3) Write for love, not money. Any monetary success that comes from your writing should only be a nice by-product of the personal reward of crafting a story for others to read (and hopefully enjoy). This isn’t being altruistic…just realistic. Making money from writing (books) isn’t easy and more often than not, you’ll be disappointed if that’s your only goal.
What are your thoughts about self-promotion, author platforms, and the ever-changing publishing world?
Towards the end of writing the novel (and the reality that I would actually finish it came into view), I began educating myself on the publishing industry. I read posts and articles on publishing and agents etc., and what I quickly realized was just how difficult the journey was going to be. After several attempts at querying agents and publishing houses, I began to look more seriously at self-publishing options. It wasn’t that I felt my book wasn’t good enough for traditional representation; it was simply a matter of odds. I’ve read that nearly 500 self-published books come online every day. If even a third of those books (and authors) were trying to go through the old ways of publishing and agents, it’s easy to see there would be too much jamming up the system. I applaud the advent of self-publishing tools and resources. It’s certainly put a flood of books into the market, but at the same time it’s made an even playing field for writers that simply want to get their work in front of readers.
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