Would you like to get to know more about how the inner book brain of an Indie Author works?
This is the place!
Periodically, we'll invite an Indie Author to open up their brain, and show us inside. We'll have a conversation that deals a little bit with writing craft, reading influences, and some other fun stuff.
Today, we thumb through the pages of
Indie Author Chelsea Gouin's grey matter...
Discover More About Chelsea Gouin HERE!
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
No official pilgrimages as I’m still so new at this! I have participated in the Pages Promotions Prose Procrastinators Anonymous Writing Group...getting together with other writers and working on our pieces at Panera Bread. It’s great to be surrounded by that creative energy!
What is the first book that made you cry?
Tough to think back that far but I think The Giver by Lois Lowrey? Christine Sparks’ novelization of The Elephant Man was the first book that completely had me break down though. I still cry over Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and I read that one every year...I’m just an emotional reader.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I guess my writing process is its own Kryptonite? I don’t ever write in a linear fashion. I have a bunch of disjointed scenes I try to tie together and sometimes the “big picture” isn’t always clear. I outline before hand the “big scenes” so I have an idea of where I’m going and try to fill the spaces as I go, but the transitional scenes as it were often get neglected.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Ultimately stand alones because I don’t know if I have the stamina for a series. I throw little nuggets throughout a story that have a “hidden storyline” if you’re paying real close attention. I would like to do little nods to my other works as I continue to write, like a passing reference but nothing too obvious. I guess we’ll see once I start publishing more!
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It made it real! Publishing was always some unattainable dream of mine and now it actually happened! I also had to face my weaknesses, mainly setting a scene and describing settings. It was about compromise after working with an editor too and truly a humbling experience.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A Moose! I have a picture next to my laptop I reference every time I type… it says, “Advice from a Moose: Think Big, Eat Plenty of Greens, Hold Your Head Up High, Keep Your Nose Clean, And It’s Okay to be a Little Wild!” What a great philosophy to live by!
What did you edit out of your books? (keep it family-friendly, please)
I only have the one published but I got a little carried away with one of the side plots for a character...so I removed it and I’ll be using that same plot now in another book! I also had a rather graphic death scene, and while fun to write it was almost TOO much and just took away from the overall story.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Writer’s Block? I get in my head a bit, especially when trying to work through a scene that just won’t work, and I give up and won’t go back to it until I can fix it just so.
What is your favorite childhood book?
As a real little kid I had all the Bearenstain Bear books and would also settle for Little Critter. And Dr. Seuss of course! When I became more of an independent reader it was always Molly the Brave and Me and the Amelia Bedelia books. Then at the tender age of eight, Harry Potter changed my life forever!
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Getting started and then staying organized. I have a rather stressful day job and it’s hard to shake that off and write sometimes. Or I have so many ideas and picking one to focus on can be an issue too.
What is the easiest part of your writing process?
Writing. Ha-ha, when I get going I’m in the ZONE. I see the scene and am in it while I write, I’m sneaking down dark corridors, examining blood stains, and running from boogeymen along with my fictional crew.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I only wrote one and with work, grad school, and well life in general...it took almost three years.
A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
I mean, I’m quirky but I don’t know if it’s because I’m a writer. I feel like I’m a decent speaker and can lead a thoughtful conversation depending on the topic. I do have anxiety so have a tendency to hang back in crowds and parties and observe...maybe string some stories along in my head while I people-watch...but it feels wrong to say writers are socially inept. I don’t like labeling though… :p
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be an author?
I was in second grade, a mere seven years old when I wanted to be a writer. I would write “stories” about superheroes and their continuing adventures.
Who are your biggest literary influences?
Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, and Agatha Christie. <3 Way to break the mold, ladies!
What’s your favorite movie which was based on a book? Why?
Toss up! First I’d say Lord of the Rings; I’ll admit I struggled to read the books...high fantasy is never my friend. But the movies were stunning! They turned fictional beasts into living three-dimensional creatures! The fantastical elements I couldn’t visualize were suddenly breath-takingly real! Second is The Hunger Games Trilogy because I felt they stayed faithful to the books and then expanded the lens by shifting the narration from just Katniss to the other behind the curtain players.
How did it feel when your first book got published? How did you celebrate?
Pretty dang good! I think I cried a lot more than I’m willing to admit. It was very surreal.
What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about authors?
The amount of time that goes into the book. They see the final result but so much blood, sweat, and tears went into that baby! Research, editing, plotting...what a ride!
Can you tell us about your current projects?
Sure! Flip-flopping between two projects! One is a co-authored project with a friend that we’ve been playing with for a few years...we’ve decided to revamp it though and add more historical context. Based on the Michigan Legend of Morrow Road, we wanted to add to the mythos of the mysterious circumstances of a mother losing her child, what if there was more at play? Playing on a dark comedy/horror vibe and rich in Algonquin lore, it’s been a fun one so far!
Also, my next solo project is one from my younger years. A more psychological horror about a new girl in a small town that comes under scrutiny when some accidents start up. It’s going to be a YA horror cause for whatever reason that trend died and I want to bring it back...I used to love the Fear Street books as a teen and I’d love to do something in that vein.
Are you attending any conventions/festivals where readers can meet you and/or buy your books? Please provide all the “find it” information.
Well...with the current pandemic I have no plans of Festivals. :/ I would have loved to go out and network (that’s the most fun!) but alas, I don’t think there’s anything really happening right now. Maybe in 2021!
Please provide links and/or instructions about how readers can purchase signed copies of your books.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?
Just do it! Keep reading what you love, keep writing! Whether it’s fanfiction, essays, short stories, poems, or the next epic...just do it! Share with your family, share with your friends, your teachers, your next door neighbor; let people read it and give you feedback! Don’t be discouraged if someone doesn’t “get it”; books can be pretty niche...you’re probably fine. Just do it because you love it. :)
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