Cheryl Honigford interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Mar 15, 2017 3:07:02 AM
Cheryl Honigford interview with David Alan Binder
Bio (shortened) from her website: Cheryl Honigford has been writing stories since she could read (and telling stories even before that). She received her BA in Journalism, with a minor in English, from The Ohio State University.
The Darkness Knows began life as a Nanowrimo novel, inspired by Cheryl’s love of mysteries, Chicago, and old-time radio (and all things 30s). It was a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest and the overall winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense (Unpublished Category).
The Darkness Knows is the first book in the Viv and Charlie Mystery series.
Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8279711.Cheryl_Honigford
Amazon Author Profile: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B018UPKF10
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/CherylHonigfordAuthor/
1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?
Hunningford (ford like the car company, not ferd like in Stanford)
2. Where are you currently?
I live in the suburbs of Chicago.
3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
Talent is great, but persistence is the most important asset for a writer to possess. Published authors aren’t necessarily the most talented – they’re usually just the ones that didn’t give up.
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
If I’m having trouble with a plot point or a scene, I like to take a long walk and think through the issue. Something about the movement involved in walking really helps me get unstuck.
5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I don’t have any experience with self-publishing so I can’t really speak to how that works or what the differences are between the two.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
Sourcebooks – Naperville, IL
6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I read both eBook and traditional published books. I prefer traditional books, but I always keep my kindle in my bag so that I can read if I’m stuck in a long line somewhere. I’m not sure I have any insights except that readers should pick the format that works best for them.
See answer to #5 about alternative vs. traditional publishing.
7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Psst… it’s not really a secret, but don’t give up on yourself! I think a lot of people (especially burgeoning authors) buy into the “overnight success” fantasy that the media tells about well-known authors. Unpublished authors think that if they don’t pick up an agent on the first, or fiftieth, try that it’s just not in the cards for them and they get discouraged and give up. Not true. I got my agent by entering a contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America (The Daphne Du Maurier Award) after querying over 50 agents and not finding the right one. If writing is what you love, keep at it.
8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
Enter contests - especially if you see that they’re being judged by established agents and editors! Speaking from experience, contests are a great way to get an agent to actually read your manuscript rather than having it slide into the slush pile (which is what happens with cold queries). I also know a lot of authors who’ve had success pitching agents at conferences. That’s another great way to grab a moment of a harried agent’s attention.
9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
Finish writing your novel and make it the best book you can possibly make it before you even consider querying agents or looking for a publisher. Join a writers’ group, get feedback from beta reader, hire a professional editor if you have the means.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
I definitely need a deadline to get my work done. I need that fire under me. Oh, and if I’m really serious about getting something done, I’ll write in a coffeshop with the “coffeeshop” and “rain” ambient noise on my earbuds.
11. How many books have you written?
I’ve finished five. Two will have been published by the end of 2017 – and the third in 2018 (all by Sourcebooks for my Viv and Charlie Mystery Series). The other two will probably never see the light of day… I call them my practice novels.
12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
Write as much as you possibly can and seek feedback on that writing – not from friends and family but from those who have experience in the field. If you have the means and the opportunity, take writing classes. If you’re writing in a specific genres learn the conventions/tropes of that genre before you try to bend them – or break them. Don’t try to write what you think will sell (no one can guess that so far ahead of time) – write the story that makes you happy and keeps you coming back to the page day after day.
13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
I try to think of what’s the worst thing that could happen to a character at this point, then try to find a way to make that happen.
14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
I think it’s the setting for my book – I haven’t seen many books set in a radio station in the 1930s. I think anything could make a book stand out – the setting, the style of the prose, the plot. I would just be careful of trying to stand out so much that your book becomes gimmicky.
15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I have all the social media accounts – FB, Twitter, etc… I try to blog fairly often. I belong to professional organizations like Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (and the local chapters of each) – those are really great for networking and opening yourself up to promotional opportunities like panels and conferences.
16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
My first novel was rejected by publishers, and after that I stopped writing entirely for about five years. I wish I would have kept on during that period, and written through that discouragement.
17. What saying or mantra do you live by?
It’s not really a mantra, but I look at everything that I try in life as just a test. If I succeed, wonderful. But if I fail, I’ll regroup and try again. Failure is never permanent unless you let it be.