The featured author of today is Darliss Batchelor. Welcome her to my blog.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a wife of 33 years, a mother and a grandmother. I am also the author of five books: Secrets, Hell is a Skyscraper: A Trio of Novelettes, Something Else to Want, The Make-Believe Wives, and The Make-Believe Family. I’m also the playwright of a short play, One Simple Yes. Additionally, I run a small publishing business, Word in Due Season Publishing, LLC.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my family. I also enjoy reading, cruising, watching court TV shows, and NBA basketball. My favorite team is the Detroit Pistons.
Do you have a day job as well?
I don’t currently work outside of the home. However, I do run a small publishing business. I had a long career as a Lead Computer Programmer/ Analyst before a family decision drove me to quit to take care of home and family.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing more than twenty years ago. I started out writing poetry. I got the idea for and started writing my first book, Secrets, in 2000 but didn’t finish it until 2010, I believe. It took a long time because there were several periods of time I didn’t write for various reasons.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I really don’t have a specific genre I write in. I typically tell the stories my heart wants to tell. Generally, I write Christian Fiction and Women’s Fiction.
Where do you get your ideas?
Story ideas can come from anywhere. My ideas often come in the form of a vision or dream. I see a scene or hear a character speaking and it goes from there. There are also times I’ll get ideas from a Dear Abby column, a news story, or my personal life.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I do experience what might be termed writer’s block from time to time. Since I’m generally a pantser, I sometimes get to a point I don’t know what happens next. I don’t fret about it because I know I’ll be able to move forward at some point.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Generally, I’m a “pantser.” But, I worked from a very loose outline for my next book. I think that’s a pattern I’m going to follow in the future, as well.
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
There are two books that had a profound impact on me as a writer before I even knew I was a writer and they’re both by Victoria Christopher Murray. Temptation was the first African-American faith-based novel I ever read. It showed me what was possible. The Deal, The Dance, and The Devil represents the type of book I would like to write. It was an outstanding story that had a huge impact.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I’m a self-published author who hasn’t tried to get a traditional book deal, yet. The challenges I faced in getting Secrets published were generally related to setting up my publishing business.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
If I had it to do over I would have spent more time learning the craft of writing. After five books, I still don’t know everything there is to know about the craft of writing. However, I know more now than I did in the beginning. The good thing is it’s not too late to learn and that’s what I’m doing.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
As an introvert, marketing is a challenge for me. However, I vendor at a lot of local events and participate in online events to expose my work to potential readers.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Since I am independent and self-published, I drive that process. I do have a few books that haven’t been published yet for various reasons.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
My next release is The Make-Believe Family. It is a sequel to The Make-Believe Wives. It follows Faith and Jamison (from The Make-Believe Wives) as they start their new lives together. It’s a tale of love, redemption, and restoration.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
There is a scene in The Make-Believe Wives that is a real-life experience. I don’t want to give it away for those who haven’t read it, but it involves conditions surrounding a kidnapping. The Make-Believe Family is purely imagination.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
There is a funeral scene in The Make-Believe Family that was extremely difficult to write. It required me to put myself in an emotional space I didn’t have the personal experience to draw from. The challenge of doing that made it one of my favorite scenes to write.
How did you come up with the title?
The title The Make-Believe Family followed from its predecessor, The Make-Believe Wives. I had another title in mind but when I researched it, I found some books I didn’t want mine to be associated with. Make-Believe held the same meaning as the term I’d wanted to use, so The Make-Believe Wives became the title.
What project are you working on now?
I’m still working on The Make-Believe Family since it’s is in editing. The Make-Believe Couple, the third book in The Make-Believe Series, and my first nonfiction project are in the beginning stages.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
The Make-Believe Family will be released this summer. It follows Faith and Jamison as they begin their new lives together.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I would love to revisit the characters in Secrets as well as Neely Jackson from Hell is a Skyscraper: A Trio of Novelettes and Something Else to Want. I also look forward to working on books related to marriage relationships. I have a three-book series I want to write based on problems in marriages.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism toward me as an author stemmed from a review for one of my books. A reader posted a review discouraging others from “wasting their money.” I won’t pretend that didn’t hurt. It was important to remind myself to separate the creator from the creation. She wasn’t speaking about me but my book. It just wasn’t the book for her.
There have been so many wonderful compliments that I can’t point out just one. The response to my books has been more than I imagined, and I am beyond grateful for that.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
I would advise aspiring writers to write what’s on their heart and find and invest in good service providers like cover designers and editors to produce the best book possible. I would also advise them to study the craft and read, read, read. I’ve found reading, particularly in the genre one wants to write in, to be an excellent way to learn about the craft as well.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I want everyone who has read anything I’ve written to know I appreciate their support and encouragement. It means a lot for readers to spend their money and time on reading my work. When a reader says they got something out of something I’ve written, it makes the struggles all worthwhile. I want every one of them to know they are precious to me.
Author Website: http://www.darlissbatchelor.com/secrets.html
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1ZUzKEE
Hell is a Skyscraper: A Trio of Novelettes
Author Website: http://www.darlissbatchelor.com/hell-is-a-skyscraper.html
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/28IjA77
Something Else to Want (short story)
Author Website: http://www.darlissbatchelor.com/something-else-to-want.html
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1S7zYSG
The Make-Believe Wives
Author Website: http://bit.ly/2syQE5p
Amazon Ebook: http://amzn.to/2uvChi2
Nook Ebook: http://bit.ly/2u1MUqP