Good morning! Glad to be back and I hope you are enjoying all these interviews! Today’s interview is with contemporary romance author Coral McCallum! She is quite impressive. She has four books out, and she is inspirational for anyone looking for advice on writing and following your dreams! If you would like to learn more about her and her books, then follow her at Facebook, Author website, and Amazon for each book!
Are you an indie author or a traditionally published author?
I’m an indie author. To date I’ve used KDP and CreateSpace to self- publish my books.
Tell me a little about your writing journey, thus far.
I’ve always loved writing stories. When I was a child, I’d write stories and poems and plays. As a teenager, I used creative writing as a means to escape from the school bullies. I’d find a quiet corner of the school and spend my lunch breaks writing. In my 20’s and 30’s I never really wrote much- I always kept my diary going, though. I’ve written a daily diary entry since 1 Jan 1982. Anyway, in my late 30’s I found myself with some time to spare (only an hour and a half) every week while my daughter was in dance class, so I used the time to write poetry. Then in 2013, after a lengthy period of self-reflection, I decided to sit down and write seriously. When I started, I had no idea that this was where it was all going. I write my first drafts longhand, so I literally bought a new 200page notebook, and a new pen then sat down on my front doorstep in the early evening sunshine and began to write. That was 8 May 2013, and I’ve not stopped since.
Do you write under a pseudonym? If so explain why.
No, I write under my own name.
What genre do you write and why?
I write a variety of genres but primarily contemporary romances along a rock music theme. My Silver Lake series of books follow the lives of the rock band, Silver Lake. I’ve also published a stand-alone spin-off, again on a rock music theme but featuring a different band, called Ellen. On my blog, I share some short fiction pieces, and they tend to be various genres and often quite dark. I’ve written some serialized short fiction for it, and one series that is particularly popular is my vampire Silently Watching stories.
I guess I chose rock music as the primary theme based on some sound advice I got from y high school English teacher a long time ago. He advised me to write from the heart about places I loved and things I was passionate about. I’m a rock chick at heart, and I love the beach, particularly the town of Rehoboth, De where the books are set, so it made sense to start the writing journey there.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m working on the fourth book in the Silver Lake series and hope to have it published by the end of the year.
What inspired you to write your books?
I’d reached a bit of a crossroads in my life in early 2013, and without going into too many personal details, I needed to do something just for me. I needed to chase that dream of being an author. I had the first book done and most of the second one before I made the decision, with the encouragement of a small group of good friends, to self-publish them. Seeing my name on the cover of an actual book and holding that book in my hands is a feeling I will never forget. Seeing your name appear on Amazon and Good Reads and seeing five* reviews beside it is an incredibly surreal feeling. I have a motivational quote that keeps me going. It was one a close friend shared years ago, and it has been my mantra ever since -“Dreams get you started. Discipline keeps you going.” I guess I’ve proved to myself that dreams do come true.
What are your top 5 favorite books?
Cruel question for a book lover!! How do you pick just 5? Ok, I’ll answer based on my favorites today. The answer can vary from day-to-day. I love Lord Of The Rings. I think it’s the best-written book I have ever read. I love The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo. In fact, I love all his books. I love reading A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving. Again, I love all his books. I loved Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out. You can thank me later. For the last one, I’ll go with The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve. I love all of her books, particularly the ones that are set in the same house at different points in time. Ask me again tomorrow, and you might get a different five. I love books and read so many different authors and genres.
What does literary success look like to you?
I’d love to write a best seller and see it made into a film. For now, though, success to me is knowing I’ve entertained my readers. I’ve received so many lovely reviews and messages over the past few years. Hearing that my words have evoked an emotional response in a person, whether that be laughter or tears, is a sign of success to me. Possibly the best compliment I’ve been paid so far came from a colleague at work. She said she had read my first book, Stronger Within and quite enjoyed it but that it had inspired her to pick up other books and keep reading. If I’ve inspired someone to enjoy reading, then I’m happy to call that a success.
How many hours a day do you write? What is your writing routine?
As many as I can! I work full time, I’m married with two university student age kids, I blog, and I also run two social media fan pages for the real-life rock star, Myles Kennedy. As an indie author, I am a bit of a one-woman band, so I have to write, edit, and promote myself. Generally, I’ll spend 2-3 hours most evenings on some creative pursuit and have a weekly To Do list of creative chores that I tick off as the week progresses. I try to include writing and posting my weekly blog, writing the first draft of “Book Baby5”, typing up XXXX thousand words of “Book Baby 5” plus finding time to promote my existing books. I also write an ad hoc music blog. Life’s busy!
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it be and why?
Oh, good question! Do you know, I’m happy being the original author of my books as they tell the tale I have to share. It’s taken me a long time to realize it, but I’m proud of my achievements, so I’m content to be associated with my books.
What advice would you like to give to aspiring authors?
Write. Write. Write then write some more. If you hit a block on the piece you’re working on, stop and leave it for a while and go off and write something entirely different for a bit then return to the original once your mind is clear. Write from the heart.