Today’s guest is author M. Irish Gardner. Thank you for allowing me to be the first person to do an author interview with you for my blog. My readers and I look forward to learning more about you and your writing.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be a guest on your blog! It makes me feel like I can actually call myself an author now! A little information about myself: I live in on the east side of the Phoenix metropolitan monstrosity with my hubby of 10 years and two young daughters. I am a homemaker and love being around my family. I write whenever the muse strikes - 4am or 4pm, it doesn't really matter. My husband is very supportive of my craft, so we trade nap times as needed.
I have always had a very vivid imagination, but didn't dive into actually writing down the scenes in my head until about seven years ago. I spent those years making lots of common mistakes, learning about them after the fact, then figuring out I should probably learn a bit more about what I was getting into. I joined the American Night Writers Association, then two months later was appointed to serve on their Board of Directors. After a very intense year of personal growth within the writing industry, I became an editor with Xchyler Publishing, an innovative publishing company designed to find new talent. I anonymously submitted a short story to their quarterly open submissions. The judges thought it was decent enough to publish, so my first published work, Reformation, a psychological thriller, will be coming out July 31st.
Often, the company will encourage the short story authors to submit full novels, so I queried my historical romance. That time, they knew it came from me, but I had established my ability, so they accepted. That doesn't mean my novel didn't need significant work. Actually, I believed it needed a major overhaul, which my editor in chief confirmed. I am currently in the process of rewriting the entire thing. A very liberating, empowering act. That novel is due to come out in January, 2014.
1. You said you started writing seven years ago, what was the first thing you wrote?
My first project was actually my historical romance, which I unwittingly filled with cliché characters and scenes. I hadn’t realized how influenced I was by other beloved romantic tales, either in book or movie form, and though I thought I had something original, research proved otherwise. I learned that I needed to give the reader what they wanted, just not in the way they expected it.
2. From all of the scenes that come to your mind, which ones have your written down?
I write down just about every scene that comes into my head, either in “gist” format, or with full narration, dialogue, and action—just so I never forget a usable idea. In their infant states, many are not ready for any sort of use, but you never know where inspiration can originate. I keep notebooks by my bedside, my phone is filled with little thoughts, and occasionally I excuse myself from polite company so I can scribble like a madwoman as the revelation flows. I’ve learned that my brain will not hold on to ideas for long, so I must record them somehow.
3. Did you use any of those scenes in a novel or short story?
All of my work originates from one, or a combination, of those recorded scenes. I woke up in the middle of the night one time to the sound of rushing water. While I was cleaning up the result of my daughter putting an open water bottle on the edge of our ottoman (we have a master suite—for some reason I feel the need to explain that I don’t sleep on the living room couch . . . often), an idea came to mind. I wrote it down, and about three notebook-pages later, I had the beginning version of my short story set to be released in a psycho-thriller anthology in July.
4. Have you ever used real people fictionally in any of your stories?
In the original version of my historical romance, I used a real name when describing an individual’s old Dutch-style home in Kingston, New York, where my book takes place, and whose home actually still exists. I also included a story about the British soldiers burning said village, but with a rewrite, many things will change. For instance, the time is now set as during the American Revolution, instead of fifteen years after. The people and situations have changed a bit, and I will likely mention a few military and political leaders’ names, but not have them as actual characters in the story.
5. Your book is being published in January 2014, what is its name?
Yes, that is the tentative release date, the 17th of January, and its working title is Dry Rain, although that may change, too. I think that title fit my previous version better.
6. How excited are you to finally get one of your stories published?
Um, extremely? It was something that I knew I had potential for; I’ve rarely set my mind to something without finding one way or another to accomplish it, but this is something really special to me. My short story’s first draft was written in a day—testament that my writing ability and comfort had grown over the years. My full-length novel has taken SO much work and time and effort, and still will, so I feel that the sense of accomplishment will be greater.
7. When will you have your launch party so everyone can celebrate your accomplishment?
The release party will happen on a Facebook page created by the Marketing Department of Xchyler Publishing. Check frequently on their page: https://www.facebook.com/XchylerPublishing.page?fref=ts, and my page: https://www.facebook.com/MIrishGardner?fref=ts for more information!
8. Where can my readers and your fans find your book for purchase?
My book will be available through Amazon (Kindle and paperback), Kobo, Createspace, and Barnes and Noble Nook. Possibly even Barnes and Noble stores if the anthology gets as wide recognition as their last one: Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology.
9. How old are you children?
I have a four-year-old and a three-year-old. They are my little monkeys!
10. Do they understand what you do as a writer, or do they just know that you spend a lot of time on the laptop?
A little bit of both. We talk about the people that write the books I read to them each night, and I explain that I write books, too. I try to help them understand that my job is to also help other authors make their books even better than they already are. Both of my careers are extremely fulfilling. As an editor, I develop my technical abilities. As a writer, I develop my creative abilities. I love every part of it and appreciate that my girls are best friends together and love to create their own imaginative worlds.
11. Where do you write? By that I mean, do you have a specific place in the house you type every day or just where ever you are when you decide to write?
I have an office, but I also like going to the library to work, or Starbucks, which is dangerous because I love their extremely fattening hot chocolate. Basically, anywhere that has a/c and the internet is fair game. My girls especially love Chic-Fil-A where they can play and eat while I type away.
12. Are you working on a new book now?
I am currently revamping my outline for my historical romance, which is due in three days. I like to have my outlines really solid and fairly detailed so there is no excuse for writer’s block once I dive in. I outline the when/where, what happens, what’s revealed, and what’s foreshadowed. I also create in-depth character sketches, so I know how they’ll behave in any given circumstance.
13. When will your next book come out?
As mentioned above, Reformation will be coming out July 31st in the A Dash of Madness: A Thriller Anthology. And Dry Rain (working title) is planned for January 17th, 2014. We’ll see how close I can get to that!
14. Where can my readers find your webpage or blog?
I do not have a website at this point, but my Facebook author page is: https://www.facebook.com/MIrishGardner?fref=ts Feel free to stop by and “like” what I have going on! I love what I do and can’t wait to do more!
15. How can my readers contact you?
Please visit M. Irish Gardner's Facebook page and her publisher to learn more about her and books.