What are you currently writing/working on?
I am currently working on a spin-off from my series trilogy.
When and how do your characters come to you? Is it in a moment of inspiration, an epiphany? Or do they grow in some murky recess of your mind?
I have a general idea of the personality of my characters but they rarely follow what I had in mind. They evolve and show their true personalities as I am writing.
There’s an acceptance that authors often write in traits or characteristics of themselves into their work, is there any part of you in any of your characters?
There is a little bit of me and my family in all the characters. I use the world around me to develop many aspects of my books.
I am often surprised about who my characters turn out to be. I have tried to have an idea of who they will be but they will have none of that and do everything to prove me wrong about who they are.
Are you a planner, or free writer?
I am a free writer. I have tried to plan out and I get stuck or the book feels forced.
When you are developing a book, what tools or techniques do you use, e.g. timelines, mood boards, character interviews, scraps of notes?
I sit at my laptop and just start writing and whatever comes to mind goes in the book. Some of it gets through and some gets taken out. I do have a white board that I use to keep track of names and details about the characters. Things like eye color, hair color names of some support characters that don’t get mentioned a lot things like that. It sits across the room so I can just look up and have a quick reference.
Has your technique changed over time?
Not really. I still just sit down and start typing just like the first time.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you actively look for it?
Honestly, I have no idea what inspires me. There are times that I will see something that I think would be great in a book but I rarely think anything out when I start writing. I get lost in the world I am creating and it just flows through me.
I can’t write with music on. A lot of authors have to have music but I do better in quiet. I sit at my dining room table on my laptop and with it being in the center of the house I sometimes get distracted but for the most part I am able to sit here in the quiet.
Half way into writing my first novel, it’s taking over my brain! What advice can you give me on completing it? Or maybe an easier question. What do you wish you had known about writing a book before you started?
I actually ran into this very problem. You have to find a balance. Your life can’t be all about the book. I wish that I had known that obsessing over it and trying to make it perfect were actually going to hurt and not help me. If you don’t have balance in your life then you won’t have balance in your book.
The publishing industry is in decline across the board. Do you think things like the Kindle are bridging the gap, is there still the same love for the written word, or is it being diluted by the modern obsession with tech and gadgets?
I think the ereaders are helping with that. It is making it easier for someone to take something with them to read rather than trying to find somewhere to keep a book. It is also making it possible for more people to buy more books. The lesser cost of the ebooks are helping the budget of some that would not be able to read as much if they had to pay the paperback price for every book.
50 Shades of Grey author EL James was reported to make around £100k a day at the book’s height, and the upcoming film will make her millions. Do you find it a shame that the most lucrative and famous book franchise of the moment is one so widely derided for its lack of literary value? Or is it just good to have a book going mainstream?
I think that it is all in the eye of the reader. One person may think it is the best thing they have ever read while another will think it is the worst thing they have ever read. It is all up to the person reading it and what they perceive as a good book. Right now the readers are focused on books like 50 Shades of Grey but a couple of years ago it was all about Twilight. The tastes and opinions of the readers evolve and change just like the readers themselves. I am not one to think that just because I write paranormal romance and not erotica that means that my books are less or that they can’t sell. I think there is room for all of us. I don’t just read one genre or one author and I don’t think most readers do either. It’s not a competition it is just about having a book out there that someone might enjoy.
If a fascist regime was burning the worlds libraries, what books would you save?
Obviously mine! LOL No seriously, I would save the classics. As much as I love the books that come out in today’s market, I think that the classics that have stood up to the test of time are the ones that should be cherished.
Which publishing route have you taken? Did you always know you were going to go down this route, and if so why?
I am an indie author. I write my books, do a read through, have my beta readers give me feedback, read through them again and then send them to a formatter. When I get it back from the formatter I upload it to the sites and do all the promotion work that comes with being an indie author. I discussed the decision with my husband and since I don’t want someone else making decisions about the cover and what needs to be in the book and what should be cut that this was the best option for me. I’m not saying that if a publisher approached me that I wouldn’t listen and give their offer some serious thought but for now this is the best option for me.
What do you wish you knew about the publishing process before you started?
How much time it would take to do all the promotion to try and get my name out there. It is a lot of work and can sometimes become overwhelming.
Just write. Don’t worry about publishing indie or with a publisher or how you want to promote or any of the stuff that comes with it. There will be plenty of time to stress over that stuff when your book is done.
Is fanfic to be welcomed as it broadens interaction and the readers experience or a scourge that devalues the ability of an author?
Without the readers you would have no one to read what you have poured your heart and soul into. I think it is very important to interact with the readers and other authors. I answer every message that comes in and try to give a personal interaction with any reader that contacts me. That being said, I think that it can be taken too far. I have never done it myself and I have not had anyone do it with my work yet. I’m not sure how I would feel about seeing someone take my characters and write their own stories about them.
I am finding more and more, that writers often have several creative outlets. Do you? Or is writing your one source?
I am also a dance teacher. I work a full time job as a paralegal and volunteer part time at a dance studio. I can also get lost in a book and the world that an author creates.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I am a paralegal by day. That would still be my main job whether I write or not.
I have dreamed about writing a book since I was young. When I found books and that I could escape into another world I wanted to be able to give that to someone.
What authors do you admire, and why?
I have so many authors that I admire that I couldn’t name them all. Most of the authors that I have come into contact with have been wonderful. They are helpful and will answer questions and try to give you any advice they can. I have read some wonderful books that I loved but I originally picked them up because of how great a person the author is.
To find out more about Miranda, read her author bio below:
Miranda Shanklin resides in Central Illinois with her husband and their two children. When she is not working at her day job as a paralegal, running her children to practices or supporting them at events she is writing. She has been an avid reader most of her life and has always dreamed of writing her own books someday. Now that her children are reaching their teenage years she is finding the time to sit down and chase her dream.