Thursday, October 31, 2013

Interview with Michelle Weidenbenner - Author of Cache a Predator

I have wanted to do a series of interviews and luckily this book review thing has helped me get in contact with many talented and friendly writers.
So here is my first interview with Michelle Weidenbenner, author of Cache a Predator, and the mastermind behind Random Writing Rants
Check out my review of Cache a Predator here.

Q: First off, tell us a bit about yourself.
Do I have to? Lol. I don’t like talking about myself. I’d rather talk about you.
Q: Which do you prefer e-books or paperback?
Both have a different purpose for me. When I’m studying a novel I like to hold it, dog-ear the pages, and write in the margins. But if I’m speed-reading I like to read it on my Kindle.
Q: What are you currently reading? And what is your favourite genre in general?
I’m reading THE BOOK THIEF. It’ll be a movie in 2014. The novel was agented by a lit agent who read all of my latest novel, SCATTERED LINKS, in a contest. I wanted to read the type of books she represents.
Q: What do you think of self-help books on writing books or novels and publishing them? (Are they helpful or are most of them just a hoax? Would you recommend any?)
Self-help writing books are a must. I’m always striving to learn more about this craft of writing, and if a book can help I’m all about it.  The EMOTIONAL THESAURUS is a great tool to have to help you flesh out character emotions. Jim Denney is a friend of mine and he wrote WRITING IN OVERDRIVE. This book is motivational. But there are a lot of them out there. Blogs on writing are great too.
Q: If you can have any super-power, what would it be?
I’d like to be able to fly, but I’ve always wanted to have the ability to keep going without any sleep. There’s too much I want to do and not enough time to do it.
Q: What is your favourite food?
I like practically anything someone else makes for me. I don’t like to take time to cook, but I appreciate a good meal. I’m not picky, but I like to stay healthy.
Q: You told me Cache a Predator is a self-published book. So, what can you tell us about indie/self-publishing that seems to be taking the US by storm.
For me it was the way to go, but not for everyone. I’d still like to land a high-profile agent and find a large publishing house that will give me an advance. But I’m an entrepreneur and find self-publishing similar to owning my own business. I enjoy that. I’m not afraid to market my work, but that’s because I have a great editor.
Q: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing? And what was the hardest part in producing the book?
This is a huge question. One that might take too long to write. I’ll try. The pros in self-publishing are being in control of the story, the cover, marketing, and the overall project. The cons are the same—it’s all up to you, you have all the risk, you handle all the different projects wearing a different hat for each task.
But if we don’t keep writing we don’t have a product to sell, so it’s important not to forget to write every day.
Q: When writing a novel, do you have a main theme in mind or do you write and then start highlighting the themes and dissecting the book?
I typically have a premise. I wouldn’t call it a theme. I have a character with a goal, and things get in the way of him reaching that goal. I like to mess up his life and watch him squirm. Some call it torture.
Q: How do you go about when it comes to negative critiques?
I listen closely. They matter. But typically I ask several different editors and beta-readers for their opinion. If several readers feel the same way then I rethink the plot line or edit the rough edges, etc. That’s why I like to have beta readers read the novel before it’s published. They can offer great insight.
Q: Aspiring writers claim that the hardest part is finding an editor. How did that work for you and for Cache a Predator?
A good one is expensive, but just like in any business you have to spend money to make money. At least, initially. It’s important to try different ones and see how they can help. Mine liberated me. She pushed me to write the best story, but gave me confidence. Once it was professionally edited I felt better about presenting a solid piece of work.
Q: When did the title of the novel come to mind, before or while writing the book or was it a friend’s suggestion? 
The title didn’t get “finalized” until weeks before publishing. It started out as THE MUGGLER, then I had people vote on titles. Some of the other choices were COLD CACHE, THE COLD CACHE EXPOSURE, CACHE 22, and CACHE a RELEASE. Some people pronounce ‘cache’ like cachet, with the dash over the e. So I wonder sometimes if I chose the right title. Self-doubt worms its way into my thoughts way too often.
Q: Cache a Predator entails psychology and knowledge of the law. How did you conduct your research? Did you meet with doctors for instance?
I can spend a lot of time on research and never sit my butt in a chair, so yes, I interviewed doctors, deputies, geo-cachers, counselors, and child protective services staff. I needed information to make my story ring true, but honestly, there’s so much on the internet that there were times when that was enough.
Q: When and why did you start Random Writing Rants?
I started this blog for writers almost two years ago when I decided I needed a platform based on what the writing industry said was important. But I really like to help other writers and share what I’m learning, so it made sense that I would teach writing. My goal was to mentor teens because most of my novels are for young adults –ranging from first-graders to high-schoolers. But finding teens hasn’t been easy. I like to feature a teen writer on Fridays at my blog. I call it FAN FRIDAY. They share a story and I invite other writers to come and offer them encouragement. We’re THEIR fan for a day.
Q: So, having published your first novel, do you have a second one in mind? If yes, will it be a different genre?
Yes, I’ve written several young adult novels, a mid-grade novel, and a children’s chapter book series. I’m not sure which novel will be next, but I think it’ll be SCATTERED LINKS, a multi-cultural novel about a Russian teen girl. I have an adopted daughter from Russia so I’ve always been intrigued by that country.
Q: Do you know anyone who acts a bit or a lot like Ali’s mother? (She was an obnoxious character but Brett’s replies and thoughts made for comic relief)
She was a piece of work, wasn’t she? I think her character was based on someone I saw on TV—a grouchy old lady who never took responsibility for her own actions.
Q: How long did it take you to write Cache a Predator?
I wrote 50,000 words for CACHE during NaNoWriMo in 2011, but probably spent a year after (off and on, not constantly) editing the story. Then I had it critiqued, rewrote it some more, and then edited. It’s a long process, but fun!
I like that you have motives behind writing Cache a Predator, such as exposing abuse and some loopholes in the system. I also like that the theme of love in the novel is that of father-daughter, even if there is a bit of Brett-Sarah.
Thank you! I think it’s important to make stories universal—something that readers can relate to—and who doesn’t want to keep kids safe?
Q: What genres would you like to experiment with in the future?
An adult romance or a romantic suspense novel. I’m open to all stories that move me and plant themselves in my imagination. I never know when someone’s plight might trigger a story idea.