National Indie Author Day: Non-Fiction Giveaway

This one is for the authors! Today’s books are Dear Author by Laura A. Grace and Not Write Now by Kyle Robert Shultz, which are both such encouraging books!

The winner will get both books as well as a signed bookplate from Kyle Robert Shultz and a signed sticker from Laura A. Grace! (This copy of Dear Author came water-damaged; while there’s nothing wrong with it aside from a messed-up cover, I will be sending a different copy in better condition to the giveaway winner.)

I have a brief review of Dear Author for those interested; while I don’t have a review of Not Write Now, I can tell you it’s a 5-star read, it’s super fun, and it will almost certainly serve its purpose.

And we have author interviews again today! :D

Laura A. Grace

Could you tell us a little about you and what you write?

Hey there! I am SO excited to be here! My name is Laura A. Grace and I am a manga creator and YouTuber who reviews clean manga. I didn’t imagine that when I “grew up” I would be writing manga or even trying my hand at fanfic poetry, but it’s something that has brought me deep joy. While I really enjoy working on my own stories that are filled with hope (and usually take place in the “real world” with a touch of fantasy or paranormal), I also love talking about manga and my favorite anime characters! I often write reviews and articles for a website called Beneath the Tangles, a website that blends discussion of Christianity and anime. If I’m not writing, reading, or filming YouTube videos, then I’m hanging out with my family talking about the newest show we’re watching together, playing Legos, or playing video games.

Why did you choose indie publishing?

I chose indie publishing because I felt it has been the best option for my books and stories. I also have quite a few friends who are self-published and they have portrayed the publishing process as at times hard, yes, but also extremely rewarding. I felt confident in that I could also follow the same path and that if I needed help, I would be able to get sound advice.

How does your faith impact your work?

This is a great question! I feel my faith has a huge impact on my work and honestly is the only reason I am pursing writing. As I shared above, I never imagined becoming a writer as for whatever reason, I don’t recall the fondest of memories with anything writing or English related. However, as an adult, writing has been a freeing experience and I feel it’s an opportunity for God to speak to me and help me grow in Him. Not every story I’ve written has open Christian themes, but each story I have written has been a blatant and beautiful reminder to me that there is always hope.

What inspired Dear Author?

Dear Author was written in a time where I had to walk away from some of the ways I had been supporting authors (such as coordinating blog tours) to actively raise a family. I don’t regret that choice whatsoever, but I wanted a chance to share all the love I have for indie authors and that even if I could not support them the same way I had before, I wanted them to still know I was cheering for them. Dear Author came directly from that desire of wanting indie authors to know they are seen, they are loved, and that someone is always rooting for them.

What books have been most impactful to you as a reader?

Wow! What a tough question! The first one that comes to mind is Sara Ella’s Unblemished Trilogy. I absolutely love her series and it was the first time I was introduced to the concept of portal fantasy. That was life-changing for me as a reader and writer! I would also say any of Melody Carlson’s YA books. I discovered her when I was in high school and I remember being blown away that there was Christian YA with characters who were just like me and faced similar situations and problems. I didn’t even know there were books like that! I quickly purchased and devoured all the books readily available, which at the time had been her True Colors series and The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor. That has probably been one of the most impactful moments in my life as a reader (outside of discovering Winnie the Pooh was a book, which lead me to reading all of the Nancy Drew books).

Dear Author is all about encouraging authors to keep going. If you could give only one piece of encouragement to the authors reading this interview, what would it be?

There are so many things that come to mind that I want to say, but if I could only say one thing only it would be your words still matter.

My heart and desire for indie authors to know this since the release of Dear Author is still the same. There may be millions of books out in the world and new challenges that authors are facing due to the effects of the pandemic, but their words still matter. They are still important and still need to be shared.

What do you hope readers take away from reading Dear Author?

I think very similar to what I shared above, but I also hope they have a feeling of excitement and inspiration to continue to work on their stories. I hope it brightens their hearts and stirs the reminder that what they do, the time, heart, and tears they pour into their stories, is never in vain.

Can you tell us anything about your next project?

 I would love to! Though I confess there isn’t much to share as I have sort of been between projects. I have been receiving recent updates from my manga artist that my Christian manga, Gathering Faith, is getting closer to completion and should have the final pages by the end of this year! It has been in the illustration stage for over a year, but the wait has been oh so worth it!

For a most recent project, I finished working on a one-shot manga called I Need That Manga on My Shelf!! It was inspired by my experience of trying to find manga titles in the current manga shortage as well as a conversation I had with a friend. I’ll share the working blurb in case you’re interested reading it!

What lengths would you go to get a manga?

Meg Lewis is desperate to get that one missing volume of her favorite manga. It doesn’t seem to matter how much she searches in store or online, no one has it. Lucky for her, she unexpectedly finds a local bookstore has the volume in stock, but unlucky for her it’s in the center of a gang-infested part of town. Will Meg brave the streets to get a hard-to-find volume or will her luck run out when an unexpected stranger crosses her path?

Thank you so much, Laura!

Thank you so much for letting me share and stop by! I had so much fun!

Kyle Robert Shultz

Could you tell us a little about you and what you write?

I’ve been writing and publishing fiction since 2017. My usual fare is fantasy that retells myths, fairy tales, and other familiar stories in new and unexpected ways. Most of my stories are connected in a shared universe called the Afterverse.

 Why did you choose indie publishing?

Indie publishing had always seemed preferable to me due to the greater degree of control it offers writers, and as I researched it in more detail, I realized that it was far and away the best option over traditional publishing. I like having full creative freedom; I don’t think I would ever be happy working under a traditional publishing contract.

How does your faith impact your work?

Mostly in subtle ways, but the effects are definitely there. For me, the emphasis isn’t so much on writing “clean” fiction (though I’d say my work is very family-friendly) as on proving that writers motivated by a desire to serve and glorify God are capable of creating fiction that stands out in the market and truly grabs readers’ attention. I think many readers tend to assume that Christians write tame, easy stories. I want to challenge that notion with stories that truly excite readers and make them think.

What inspired Not Write Now?

I wanted to write a book on writing, but I wanted it to be different. And funny. Turning the whole premise of a how-to book on writing on its head seemed a logical choice. Especially since I would say that there was a time in my early writing career when—due to great mental turmoil over what I should write and how I should write it—I actually was looking for somebody to tell me not to write at all. It would certainly have made things easier, though I’m glad that I ultimately decided to embrace my creative drives instead of squelching them.

Not Write Now is your first non-fiction piece, correct? What was the transition like from fiction to non-fiction?

There’s a bit of a fictional veneer to Not Write Now, given its style, so it didn’t feel like that big of a shift, to be honest. It was more of a switch from writing straight fiction to writing humor, which wasn’t too hard for me because I tend to use humor a lot in my fiction anyway. Actually, I find non-fictional content easier to write, on the whole, because it’s more straightforward and there are fewer moving parts to keep track of. That said, while fiction may be harder, I still enjoy it the most.

Wit and clever use of language seem to be staples of your writing. Were there any authors you particularly read to hone those skills?

There are a lot of writers whom I gravitate to because of their unique use of language, but the most prominent ones are P.G. Wodehouse and Terry Pratchett. I’d describe Pratchett as the Wodehouse of fantasy (though I suppose he could just as easily be called the Wodehouse of sci-fi, given that the Discworld includes elements of both genres).

If you could give just one piece of encouragement to authors reading this interview, what would it be?

At the end of the day, the only thing that you have to be is a writer. It’s easy to get so caught up in the noise of trying to cultivate an author platform these days that you feel inadequate if you don’t succeed at being an influencer, a marketer, a productivity master, and so on. But while it’s useful to cultivate skills in some of those areas, the most important thing is to write books that people will want to read…and the best way to do that is to write books that you would want to read.

Can you tell us anything about your next project?

Actually, no. :) My current policy is to be ultra-secretive about everything I’m working on until it’s actually ready to release. But I am working on things, and they will be published. Eventually.

Thank you so much, Kyle!

Giveaway

Here’s how you can get your hands on these books!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Let me know in the comments: What’s your favorite book for writing encouragement?

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