Check out her page

Check out Author & Editor Rachael Hardcastle. “Why,” you may ask? Why not, this is how independent authors get the word out about their work. This is just an experiment that I hope to grow into something bigger. But for now, just check her out.

Also, here is my online interview with her:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think since the age of about 14. I wrote a poem in school and realised I enjoyed writing and decided to try working on a novel because I have always been an avid reader. At the time I read ‘chick flick’ books so that’s what I tried to write at the time. Since then I have moved to fantasy and post-apocalyptic fiction, which I now also read.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Usually I can write a book in 4 months and edit in the same. I do everything myself from start to finish including cover design and a full edit. Depending on the length of the book, the genre and other things going on in my life, this time can vary slightly.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I try not to schedule too much; I grab my writing time around other aspects of life. I try to get a few hours during the working week in and more on a weekend. When I am not writing I am planning or editing or marketing etc, so I am always working on my book in one way or another. I like to think of my writing as a hobby and not a job. This is because I don’t want it to lose its enjoyment, not because I don’t take it seriously. The more I worry about my books the less I want to write, which is a shame. When it stops being fun, I take a break and then pick up where I left off later on.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

As an author I don’t think I have a quirk in particular (you would have to ask my loyal readers) but my characters have plenty. Arriette Monroe from Finding Pandora is a feisty, independent leader. I gave her lots of interesting aspects to her personality to make her loveable and to (I hope) give the reader a reason to cheer her on. As the writer I am stubborn and tend to go with my gut instinct, so when a story comes to mind, unless I explore it, I can’t settle.

How do books get published?

I think the answers to this are varies. I think you’re asking me how to self-publish, which is what I do. I’m an indie author, so I do everything myself. Some indie authors do hire others to design their covers and edit their manuscripts but personally, I like to know that every piece of the book is me, down to every full stop. Because of this, to get a book published you need to do a lot of research first of all into your craft so you can learn to write well, and then into the publishing options. A traditional publishing deal requires you get an agent first, which is difficult. When you self-publish you can bypass that and go direct to a company such as Createspace or Lulu.com and upload your finished files to them. They print the books and distribute them for you, so it’s easier and faster for the author to share their stories.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Ideas come from everywhere. Authors are sponges and we soak in our surroundings. We use our senses to generate scenes and conversations to generate dialogue. We see the world differently; we ask ‘what if?’ a lot and generally imagine the worst so we can then find a solution for a hero to take ownership of. I also read a lot, both of fiction and of writing reference so I am constantly feeding information in. This allows me to churn ideas out the other side.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my first book when I was about fifteen, I think. The Soul Sanctuary was a full length novel and was shortly followed by a short story. It was first published in 2010. I think I was eighteen at the time, just finishing my high school years.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m an avid reader but I also like other creative projects. I can crochet, which I do often, and I like to paint, though I’m not brilliant at it.

What does your family think of your writing?

They are very supportive. Writers are always excited to share their work but it also terrifies us, especially when the people we love ask us questions because it’s like sharing a piece of yourself with the world. Most of my readers don’t know me so it’s easier for them to read the book through the eyes of the character whereas my family and friends might hear my voice instead of the protagonist’s.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

What I was capable of. I surprised myself, I think, because when you are an indie author you have a lot to consider and a lot of decisions to make. You have to put yourself out there and invite people in, which for any writer to do is probably uncomfortable because we are mostly quiet, private characters. You learn a lot when you self-publish because you have to. Every step brings a new challenge and you need to research and practice before you can get it right. To make a professional book, it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time. I was surprised at how well the book turned out and so because of that I am proud of myself.

How many books have you written?

That’s a difficult question. I have written about seventeen full length books and lots of them were published with Lulu.com, however I decided to re-write and start over. I wanted to learn more about writing and self-publishing and then begin each project again, so at the moment there is only one novel published with Createspace and Amazon KDP, which is Finding Pandora: Book One. As of May 31st 2016 there will be another, as I am releasing book two. I am hoping for another book each month after that so I can catch up and begin something new.

Which is your favorite?

I think my Finding Pandora series is my favourite, though my Aeon Infinitum post-apocalyptic trilogy is a close second. There are interesting twists and turns in both.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Read a lot. Write a lot. Ask when you need help. Self-publishing is difficult and can be isolating. Join some groups and chat with others who enjoy writing and reading and learn what is currently popular, though try not to write specifically for trends. Trends change. There are great vloggers on You Tube and free tools on the internet that will help you with almost anything.

If so, what are they?

There’s a free online dictionary I use called dictionary.reference.com. I also taught myself to edit having used Autocrit online software for a few years. Keep a notebook of all the things you are learning, your ideas and contacts. Make this information available to you at any time. There is also some free word processing software called Open Office that you can use.

Do you hear from your readers much?

I hear from people daily, some are my readers and others just need advice or want to chat about books and writing. I am happy to hear from people and pleased to help where I can.

What kinds of things do they say?

They usually ask me questions or send me reviews and thoughts on my work. Most are positive but I also really appreciate feedback to suggest improvement too.

Do you like to create books for adults?

My Finding Pandora books are probably best suited to young adult but I have had some amazing feedback from adults of all ages too.

What do you think makes a good story?

Conflict. I think your characters need a goal and there needs to be conflict and challenges they must overcome to get there. Also, I like books where there is a lesson to learn at the end.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Like every child, I wanted to be everything from a vet, a nurse, a teacher and a hairdresser. It turns out I’m suited to the role of a writer, and I’m so pleased with the outcome.

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